Hindu group behind Modi’s rise in India opens up as elections near

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Source: Reuters

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – A Hindu nationalist group behind the rise of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is opening up to critics and supporters through a first-of-its-kind outreach program in New Delhi, preparing the ground for his re-election bid next year.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the fountainhead of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that believes in a Hindu-first ideology, provided thousands of campaigners for Modi’s landslide victory in 2014, and could help energize its cadre to fend off rising criticism of the government.

A general election is due by May.

A three-day lecture session the RSS started on Monday in the capital – rare for a mainly male group that typically broadcasts its views from its headquarters in the western city of Nagpur – is also being seen as an attempt to mainstream the movement that Modi joined in his youth.

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