In a decision that might come as a shock to many in the anti-BJP front, former president Pranab Mukherjee has apparently agreed to attend a major event hosted by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
According to reports, a senior RSS official has confirmed that Mukherjee will be attending an event that will witness the graduation of RSS’s third-year camp for members studying to qualify as pracharaks. The event is scheduled to be held at the headquarters of the organisation in Nagpur on 7 June.
The RSS had earlier confirmed that they had sent an invite to Mukherjee, who was associated with the Congress throughout his political career before becoming the 13th President of India on 25 July 2012.
“Former President Pranab Mukherjee’s acceptance to attend RSS event in Nagpur sends a message to the country that on vital issues there should be dialogue, and adversaries are not enemies,” an ANI report quoted RSS leader Rakesh Sinha as saying.
“Questions raised on RSS-Hindutva is being answered by his acceptance of invitation,” he added.
Over 600 workers will participate in the third year Sangha Shiksha Varga (SSV), an event that will be attended by the topmost leaders of the ideological parent of BJP.
Before becoming the President, Mukherjee served as finance minister and defence minister during the two terms of the UPA government led by former prime minister Manmohan Singh.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has often praised Mukherjee calling him a “father figure” on many occasions.
In July 2017, during the launch of a 340-page photo essay published by The Statesman titled ‘President Pranab Mukherjee – A Statesman’ at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, PM Modi hailed the then president as a great human being and said that there was never a moment in the three years since 2014 when Mukherjee did not treat him like a son.
Mukherjee, too, had tweeted a letter he received from PM on the last day in office. In his tweet, the former president wrote that the letter “touched his heart”.
— Pranab Mukherjee (@CitiznMukherjee) August 3, 2017
The 82-year-old Mukherjee demitted the office of President of India on 25 July 2017.