Pranab Mukherjee is scheduled to arrive at the venue at 5:30 pm, where he will be welcomed by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.
NAGPUR: Pranab Mukherjee received a warm welcome at the headquarters of the RSS this evening ahead of an
event that he agreed to attend against strong objections from the Congress, his party of decades, as
well as his family.
The former president was taken on a guided tour of the complex that includes a memorial for KB
Hegdewar, the founder of the RSS or Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
“Today I came here to pay my respect and homage to a great son of Mother India,” he wrote in the
visitor’s book at the memorial.
Mr. Mukherjee, 82, arrived in Nagpur yesterday for the event that been shadowed by controversy ever
since the veteran Congress leader agreed to address RSS trainees.
He will address the event after tea with Mr. Bhagwat and RSS No. 2 Bhaiyyaji Joshi.
There is much curiosity over what Pranab Mukherjee, who has been critical of the RSS ideology during
his five-decade-long association with the Congress before he became President of India in 2012, will
The Congress had made efforts to get the former President to change his mind about participating in the
RSS function, with senior leaders like Anand Sharma meeting with him.
Last night, a sharp message came from the Congress leadership in the form of a tweet by Ahmed Patel: “I
did not expect this from Pranab da”. Sources have told NDTV it was Sonia Gandhi who asked Mr. Patel to post
The former President’s daughter Sharmistha Mukherjee also tweeted her disapproval and warned her father
about the BJP’s “dirty tricks department”.
Former union minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram has said that since Mr. Mukherjee has
accepted the invitation, he should go and tell the RSS “what is wrong” in their ideology.
Despite the voices of disapproval and requests to reconsider his decision, Mr. Mukherjee remained firm.
“Whatever I have to say, I will say in Nagpur. I have received several letters, requests and phone
calls, but I haven’t responded to anyone yet,” Mr. Mukherjee was quoted as saying by Bengali daily
Hope @CitiznMukherjee now realises from todays’ incident, how BJP dirty tricks dept operates. Even RSS wouldn’t believe that u r going 2 endorse its views in ur speech. But the speech will be forgotten, visuals will remain & those will be circulated with fake statements. 1/2
— Sharmistha Mukherjee (@Sharmistha_GK) June 6, 2018