Pranab Mukherjee will address RSS cadre in Nagpur shortly. Despite unease among Congress leaders, he had agreed to attend the RSS' ‘Tritiya Varsh Varg’ programme.
- Pranab Mukherjee’s daughter Sharmistha disapproved of his visit and said that this will allow RSS to plant false stories as his “speech will be forgotten” but “visuals will remain.”
- Congress leader P Chidambaram urged Mukherjee to take the opportunity to tell the RSS what is wrong with their ideology
- Jairam Ramesh wrote to the former president, requesting him not to attend the RSS event
Mohan Bhagwat Addresses Cadre Ahead of Pranab's Speech
Amid displeasure expressed by Congress leaders over Pranab Mukherjee’s decision to attend the RSS event, the organisation’s chief Mohan Bhagwat, while addressing the cadre, said, “There has been a tradition in the RSS to invite well-known people from various walks of life. We are only following this tradition, and invited former President Pranab Mukherjee.”
He said, “Bharat Mata (India) is everybody’s mother.. All ancestors are equals. Indian culture affects every life. We must respect diversity and strengthen the country. Unity is the future. Unity cant be achieved with books and speeches. We need to walk taking everybody together.”
"Exchange of Views Part of Indian Tradition," Tweets RSS
With the stage set for Pranab Mukherjee to deliver his address as the chief guest at RSS’ event in Nagpur, the organisation's official handle shared a tweet saying, “The exchange of views is a part of Indian tradition.”
The tweet said that both Pranab Mukherjee and RSS are well aware of each others’ ideologies yet they both agreed to Mukherjee’s presence at the event.
Images of Pranab Mukherjee at RSS HQ Have Anguished Those Who Believe in Pluralism: Anand Sharma
Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma joined the list of people who have condemned Pranab Mukherjee’s decision to attend an RSS event in Nagpur. Sharma tweeted, “The images of Pranab Da, veteran leader and ideologue at RSS Headquarters have anguished millions of Congress workers and all those who believed in pluralism, diversity and the foundational values of the Indian republic.”
Pranab Mukherjee Arrives at the Venue
Former President Dr Pranab Mukherjee arrived at Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's (RSS) Tritiya Varsh event in Nagpur. He will be addressing the cadre shortly.
Congress Tweets 'RSS For Dummies' Video
Minutes before the former President’s speech at the RSS headquarters, the Congress party's official Twitter handle shared a video titled ‘RSS For Dummies’ and wrote that it is a “fitting day” to share it, which can be interpreted as their disapproval of Pranab Mukherjee’s decision to attend the event.
"Here to Pay My Respect": Mukherjee at RSS Founder's Birthplace
Former President Pranab Mukherjee's message in the visitors' book at RSS founder KB Hedgewar's birthplace in Nagpur reads, “Today I came here to pay my respect and homage to a great son of Mother India”.
Pranab Arrives at RSS Founder's Birthplace, Welcomed by RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat
Former President and the Congress veteran Pranab Mukherjee visited the birthplace of RSS founder Keshav Baliram Hedgewar ahead of his much-anticipated speech at the Sangh headquarters in Nagpur.
Mukherjee was welcomed by RSS chief Bhagwat.
According to PTI sources, this visit to pay tributes to Hedgewar was not part of Mukherjee's scheduled itinerary and an impromptu decision was taken by the former president to do so.
Sources told the news agency he would be welcomed at the RSS headquarters by Bhagwat and general secretary Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi.
At the headquarters, he will also garland the statue of the sangh founder Hedgewar, reported PTI.
There, he will also be introduced to the other senior Sangh functionaries and will attend the Sangh parade by its workers on completion of the training camp.
He Will Only Speak in Favour of the Nation: Virbhadra Singh
Former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh said he is sure that Pranab Mukherjee will not say anything against the nation in his speech.
I’m sure that Pranab Mukherjee won’t say anything in Nagpur which isn’t in favour of the nation. In fact, whatever he says will be in favour of country. I’ve no issues with him attending that event. He’s free to go wherever he wants to.Virbhadra Singh, Former Himachal Pradesh CM
Sharmistha Mukherjee is Being Narrow-Minded: Rakesh Sinha
Speaking to News18, Lok Sabha MP and RSS ideologue Rakesh Sinha said that Pranab Mukherjee’s daughter is being narrow-minded and short-sighted about Pranab Mukherjee attending an RSS event. He said that the RSS has invited Pranab Mukherjee to initiate a dialogue.
Sinha said, “Pranab Mukherjee going to the RSS is giving a message. And in a democracy, dialogue is the essence. Dictating someone where to speak, how to speak and what to speak is a typical characteristic of fascists, which is being depicted by the Congress leadership.”
Dignitaries Who Have Addressed RSS Events in the Past
- 2017: General Rookmangud Katawal (former army general of Nepal)
- 2016: Rantidev Sengupta (senior Bengali journalist)
- 2015: D Veerendra Heggade (Dharmadhikari of Dharmasthala temple, Karnataka)
- 2014: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (founder of Art of Living Foundation)
- 2013: Sri Sri Sri Nirmalanandanatha Mahaswami (head of Adichunchanagiri Mutt, Karnataka)
Needless Controversy Around Mukherjee's Speech: Congress Sources
Congress sources told News18 that there is needless controversy around former President Pranab Mukherjee's speech at the RSS event, and that everyone should wait for his speech before speculating.
Will Pranab Da Uphold His Nehruvian Ideals While Addressing RSS?
Arguing that one should never shun the possibility of dialogue, *The Quint’s* Mayank Mishra analysed Mukherjee’s past speeches to envision what his address at the RSS event may look like.
“Being a self-proclaimed follower of Nehruvian secularism, will Pranab Mukherjee ask would-be RSS _pracharaks_ to mend their ways? Knowing Pranab _da_, one can safely assume that he won’t mince words while driving home the values he has always cherished,” writes Mishra.
Preparations in Full Swing at Nagpur Venue
Visuals of RSS volunteers prepping up the RSS Headquarters in Nagpur for this year’s 'Tritiya Varsh Varg' event — where recruits from all over the country will gather.
Pranab Mukherjee's Itinerary for 7 June
Sources told The Quint that Pranab Mukherjee is expected to reach the RSS headquarters in Nagpur’s Reshimbagh area at around 5.30 pm.
- RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat is expected to welcome former President Pranab Mukherjee.
- Mukherjee is then expected to meet RSS general secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi and other members of the organisation.
- The former president is expected to reach the venue of the event by 6:25 pm and address RSS cadre for around 20 minutes.
- Bhagwat is expected to deliver the final address.
Ahmed Patel Joins the Bandwagon Against Mukherjee
Rajya Sabha MP and Congress leader Ahmed Patel took to Twitter on Thursday, 7 June, to express his displeasure over Pranab Mukherjee’s decision to attend an RSS event in Nagpur.
Pranab Mukherjee Meets Mohan Bhagwat Ahead of Event
Sources told The Quint that former President Pranab Mukherjee met RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat for dinner on Wednesday, 6 June.
According to sources, Bhagwat has also invited Mukherjee for lunch before the event. However, the venue for this meeting is not yet known.
Mukherjee's Daughter Says His Speech Will Be Forgotten, Visuals Will Remain
A day before Pranab Mukherjee’s address at an RSS event in Nagpur, the former president's daughter and Congress leader Sharmishtha Mukherjee disapproved of his decision, saying Pranab has given the BJP and the Sangh an opening to plant false stories, as his "speech will be forgotten" but "visuals will remain.”
Taking to Twitter on Wednesday, 7 June, she said she hoped Pranab Mukherjee would realise how the BJP's "dirty tricks department" works, and said that with his visit, he was giving the BJP and the RSS the "full handle to plant false stories.”
Sharmishtha also dismissed "rumours" about her joining the BJP, saying she would rather leave politics than quit the Congress.
Even before the event, Mukherjee’s visit has given rise to speculation and a host of Congress leaders have urged the former president to review his decision for the sake of secularism.
Tell RSS What’s Wrong With Their Ideology, Chidambaram to Pranab
Amid the brouhaha over former president and veteran Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee attending the RSS event, the grand old party's P Chidambaram also reacted to the controversy, saying that Mukherjee should go to the event and "tell them what is wrong with their ideology.”
Pranab Mukherjee Arrives in Nagpur
Former President Pranab Mukherjee landed at Nagpur Airport. He was greeted by the RSS at the airport. He will address the concluding function of ‘Tritiya Varsh Varg’ of the RSS on 7 June.
Assam Cong President Asks Pranab Mukherjee to Reconsider Decision
Assam Congress President Ripun Bora wrote to former President Pranab Mukherjee, asking him to reconsider his decision to attend RSS conference. “The RSS never respects national flag, is propagating idea of one nation one religion, is responsible for growing of social and religious intolerance,” he wrote in a letter, as accessed by ANI.