Hardliner who never shied away from controversy
Former RSS chief Kuppalli Sitaramayya Sudarshan was a Hindutva hardliner who never shied away from a controversy or two even if it meant crossing swords with the BJP.
The fifth sarsanghchalak of the RSS, who headed the Sangh founthead from 2000 to 2009, was a strong votary of swadeshi.
A gold medallist in Bachelor of Engineering in Telecommunications from Sagar University, Sudarshan, who attended his first RSS shakha (class) at the age of nine, chose to become an RSS pracharak.
Born on June 18, 1931, in Raipur, Sudarshan became a pracharak (one responsible for propaganda of the RSS ideology) in 1954. His first posting as a pracharak was in Raigarh district. In 1964, he was made the pranth pracharak and in 1969, he was appointed convener at the national level.
Sudarshan rose through the RSS ranks and became the number two in the organisation under Rajju Bhaiyya, who later handed over the reins to him in 2000 due to ill-health. Sudarshan worked as the sarsanghchalak till 2009.
As the RSS chief, he made certain statements which drew the ire of not only the BJP but also Dalits across the country. Known for his unpredictable nature and strict discipline, Sudarshan spoke against the Constitution, the BJP-led NDA government and even tall leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L K Advani.
After the NDA was voted out of power, Sudarshan said in 2005 that the old guards of the BJP like Vajpayee and Advani should retire and give way to the younger lot.
“Throw away the outdated Indian Constitution which speaks of British legacy,” Sudarshan had said in his first official interaction with the media on March 10, 2000, after becoming the RSS chief.
Many within the Sangh felt Sudarshan did not change with time. He continued to staunchly believe in the ideology of Hindutva and Swadeshi.
A forceful speaker, Sudarshan was fluent in his native language Kannada and other languages such as Bengali and Assamese. Unlike his predecessor Rajendra Singh alias Rajju Bhaiyya, who taught physics in Allahabad University, Sudarshan was more of a hardliner.
Not one to mince words, Sudarshan was very critical of the economic policies of former prime minister A B Vajpayee.