New Delhi: Former President Pranab Mukherjee, a veteran Congress leader, will address an event of the RSS or Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the organisation frequently criticised by Rahul Gandhi. Mr Mukherjee will deliver the main address at a function organised on June 7 in Nagpur for RSS cadre training to become full-time volunteers or pracharaks.
- Pranab Mukherjee will deliver the main address at a function
- RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat is also expected to address the event
- Reports say some 800 RSS workers will attend the annual training camp
The RSS is the ideological mentor of the ruling BJP and several ministers visit its headquarters in Nagpur. Congress president Rahul Gandhi accuses the organisation of trying to divide the country on religious lines.
An RSS leader said that the former president, a lifelong Congressman, accepting the invite to the event was a significant message.
"Former President Pranab Mukherjee's acceptance to attend the RSS event in Nagpur sends a message to the country that on vital issues there should be dialogue and adversaries are not enemies. Questions raised on RSS-Hindutva is being answered by his acceptance of the invitation," said Rakesh Sinha.
Reports say around 800 RSS workers below 45 from across the country will attend the annual training camp or Sangh Shiksha Varg, organised in the summer.
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat is also expected to address the event.
Mr Mukherjee, 82, was the top troubleshooter of the Congress till 2012, when he became President. He was a minister in almost every Congress government since Indira Gandhi helped him get elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1969. He was widely expected to be the Congress choice for Prime Minister after Sonia Gandhi refused to take the top job in 2004. But Sonia Gandhi picked Manmohan Singh.
As president, Mr Mukherjee witnessed the transition from the Congress-led UPA to the BJP-led government in 2014. He also enjoyed a cordial relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and is believed to have invited Mohan Bhagwat to the Rashtrapati Bhavan despite perceived differences in ideology.