Home News Pranab Mukherjee speech at RSS HQ LIVE updates: Ex-president reaches house of organisation's founder Keshav …

Pranab Mukherjee speech at RSS HQ LIVE updates: Ex-president reaches house of organisation's founder Keshav …

26 min read

17:45 (IST)

Pranab Mukherjee calls Hegdewar 'Great son of Mother India'

17:43 (IST)

Significant Posturing: RSS tweets out image of Pranab with Mohan Bhagwat

17:39 (IST)

Pranab makes impromptu visit at RSS founder KB Hedgewar's birthplace ahead of RSS speech

Former President and the Congress veteran Pranab Mukherjee today visited the birth place of the RSS founding Sarsanghachalak Keshav Baliram Hedgewar ahead of his much-anticipated speech at the Sangh headquarters here.

Mukherjee was welcomed by the RSS chief Bhagwat. According to 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.

17:33 (IST)

Uproar over Pranab Mukherjee's visit only in Congress, says Subramanian Swamy

"Pranab Mukherjee is a great intellectual and he is no longer a Congressman. When he became president he said he is above all parties. So where is the problem? It is only the Congress which has a problem with his visit. As former president, he is free to go wherever he wants," Swamy told CNN-News18. 

17:27 (IST)

'Customary to invite significant contributors to national life': RSS introduces its chief guest 

17:23 (IST)

Pranab Mukherjee looks at ease with Mohan Bhagwat at RSS HQ

Now that Pranab Mukherjee is at RSS headquarters in Nagpur, all eyes and ears are on what will he say. It’s hazardous to make a guess. But political corridors in Delhi, particularly those in the Congress are busy taking a guess. The former president will surely speak on `nationalism’. But the question is whether his words will be music to the ears of those gathered there, in harmony with RSS’s views on the subject, or will he present himself as a critic who had courage and conviction to accept RSS’ invite and give them a lesson or two on nationalism, what it ought to be, and what ideological fountainhead of Sangh Parivar preaches.

In first visuals that have come from Nagpur, Mukherjee, clad in dhoti-Kurta-badi looks at complete ease in the company of Mohan Bhagwat, while going for a guided tour inside the RSS campus. It appears as if he is oblivious to fury that his visit has generated in his erstwhile party, his family and among left-liberal intellectuals.

17:18 (IST)

Didn't expect this from Pranab Da, says Ahmad Patel and many others in Congress 

17:08 (IST)

"For us, Pranab is ex-President, not Congress leader"

CNN-News18 quoted a source in the RSS as saying that Pranab Mukherjee is an ex-president for them, not a Congress leader.

17:03 (IST)

Pranab arrives at RSS founder's house

Television visuals have shown Pranab Mukherjee arriving at the RSS founder Keshav Hedgewar's house in Nagpur.

16:52 (IST)

Congress leaders from WB, Assam had questioned Pranab Mukherjee's decision

The Congress' leaders from West Bengal and Assam had expressed surprise at Pranab Mukherjee attending an RSS event. 

""My question is does he (Mukherjee) think his previous comments against RSS were wrong…We still remember how Pranab Mukherjee as a senior leader of the Congress had criticised RSS as a communal and a divisive organisation," West Bengal Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury had said on 30 May, as reported by PTI

"It is very surprising that you (Mukherjee) are going to attend the meeting of such an organisation which is totally opposed to the Congress' ideology of secularism, which is not only the basic foundation of the Constitution but also the social fabric of our nation," Assam Pradesh Congress Committee chief Ripun Bora had said in a letter to the former president, as reported by PTI.

16:29 (IST)

Pranab Mukherjee is not a first, many RSS guests in past have stirred controversy

The invite to Pranab Mukherjee isn't a one-off. The RSS has been known to invite people not ascribing to its ideology. 

One of the earliest such examples is from 1993 when former Central Provinces home minister Sir Moropant Joshi was invited during  KB Hedgewar’s time. Apart from that, the RSS often refers to a voluntary visit to the Wardha RSS camp by Mahatma Gandhi on 25 December 1934. It is no surprise then that Gandhian health activist Abhay Bang has also been one of the former chief guests at the RSS event. 

RSS also claims that revolutionary Congress politician Jayaprakash Narayan also had once presided over the RSS functionaries as a guest. Some others former chief guests at RSS headquarters include the likes of former CBI chief Joginder Singh, Republican Party of India (Gavai) president R S Gavai, and former Nepal Army chief Rookmangud Katawal.

However, it was in 2007, when former Air Chief Marshal AY Tipnis was invited to the Nagpur camp by then Sarsanghchalak K S Sudarshan. Without targeting the RSS directly, "Tipnis raised eyebrows as he delivered a veiled critique dealing with secularism, tolerance and faith in the Constitution which led to a point-by-point rebuttal by Sudarshan"

Read the complete analysis here  “>

16:09 (IST)

Pranab Mukherjee accepting RSS' invite could mean he's keeping post-retirement political options open

Former President Pranab Mukherjee consenting to be the chief guest at the RSS event should be seen as the RSS' attempt to broaden its base and appropriate iconic figures. Contrary to popular perception, the chequered history of RSS-Congress relations has seen the two cosy up, bringing dividends to both sides.

However, a closer look at Mukherjee's political and personal ambitions is also merited. After retirement, Mukherjee has seen a lot of visitors at his 10, Rajaji Marg residence. And it is generally believed that a section of the political class, which is unsure of Rahul's ability to either lead a rainbow coalition or make Congress a stronger organisation, is working behind-the-scenes so Mukherjee takes a more "pro-active role in national life".

It is in view of such developments that one must consider Mukherjee's acceptance of the RSS invitation – it could be one of several options the former president has to re-enter public life, including engaging with third front protagonists like Naveen Patnaik and restless Congressmen unsure of Rahul's prowess.

Read the complete analysis here 

15:54 (IST)

RSS issues statement after controversy over Pranab Mukherjee's visit, says exchange of ideas crucial 

The Sangh was also unsparing in its criticism of the Left as it defended its invite to the former president at its event. 

"Exchange of views and ideas is intrinsic to the Bharatiya concept of dialogue, this invitation and its acceptance is but a continuation of that democratic tradition, enshrined in our cultural ethos. So why then the dissonance and negative commentary? Why the opposition to this exchange?

The resistance has surprised many, but if we were to delve into the ideological basis of this opposition it would be unsurprising. Bharat’s intellectual spectrum’s most vocal voices are those of, an ideology that is entirely alien to India and has been rejected the world over, for its high level of intolerance and violent means to achieve conformity, that is ‘Communism’. Their idea of “thought conformity” necessitates this approach that not only rejects healthy exchange among diverse stakeholders but protests it."

15:45 (IST)

After daughter, Pranab’s son too may have to speak up on RSS event 

CNN-News18 interviewed West Bengal Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Thursday who opined that after Sharmishtha Mukherejee, Pranab's son Abhijit may also have to speak up against the former president's decision to attend the RSS event. 

He said that although Pranab is respected as a knowledgeable person, he has never been a popular leader in Bengal. Like many congressmen, Chowdhury also appeared critical of Pranab's decision to participate in the event as he said, "The BJP is doing politics in Bengal. And with this, they’ll have a spicy material that they’ll use against the Congress. Once a robust Congress leader, he is visiting the RSS headquarters. The BJP is a communal party and they’ll definitely make Pranab Mukherjee into a political scandal."

15:34 (IST)

FirstCut by Manjul Toon 

15:03 (IST)

Pranab will not say anything against nation, says Virbhadra Singh

"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," ANI quoted former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh as saying.

14:41 (IST)

RECAP: Visuals of ex-president Pranab Mukherjee arriving at Nagpur airport

14:32 (IST)

Free to accept or reject any invitation, says Ramachandra Guha

Speaking in support of Mukherjee, historian Ramachandra Guha said the former president was free to accept or reject any invitation he received. However, he lent a word of caution to Mukherjee and said that in the age of fake news, he should release the full text of his speech in the public domain as soon as the speech is delivered.

14:26 (IST)

Outrage over Mukherjee's decision is 'unseemly', says Manmohan Vaidya, RSS joint general secretary

Calling the outrage over the former president attending the RSS event as "unseemly", RSS joint general secretary Manmohan Vaidya, in a Firstpost column, wrote, that RSS invite revealed Congress' hypocrisy. "The intellectual world of Bharat is dominated by the people with some sort of ‘communist’ colour. And either because of the lack of original intellectual thinkers in Congress and other political parties based on individual/ family, territory or caste identity, or they have outsourced their ‘intellectual space’ to people with communist or left background. Though they talk of liberalism, democracy and freedom of expression, they invariably are seen exhibiting the communist ideological intolerance, intellectual untouchability and exclusion," Vaidya wrote. 

14:23 (IST)

RSS 'trying to shed its image of an unregistered, unaccountable hydra-headed monster'

In a column which appeared in Firstpost, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera wrote that by inviting an intellectual like Mukherjee, who vehemently opposed all that the RSS stands for, the Sangh is attempting to "mainstream itself and shed its image of an unregistered, unaccountable hydra-headed monster". Hitting out at the RSS, Khera said: "Sangh has been an over-rated organisation that basks in notions of greatness which it never earned and wallows in victimhood which it never suffered from."

14:18 (IST)

Speech will be forgotten, visuals will remain: Pranab Mukherjee's daughter

On Wednesday, the former president's daughter, Sharmistha Mukherjee, disapproved of his decision and cautioned her father saying he was giving the BJP and the Sangh a handle to plant false stories as his "speech will be forgotten" but "visuals will remain".

14:11 (IST)

Pranab Mukherjee's itinerary

According to CNN-News18, the itinerary for the evening is as follows:

7 pm: Mohan Bhagawat to introduce Pranab Mukherjee

7.05 pm: Pranab Mukherjee to address RSS workers for 25 minutes.

7.30 pm: Mohan Bhagawat to speak for 25 minutes. 

14:08 (IST)

Mixed response to Pranab Mukherjee's decision to address RSS workers

The "secular patriarch's" decision to accept the Sangh's invitation has evoked a mixed response with some crying ideological betrayal while the other seeing no harm in it.  Meanwhile, Mukherjee broke his silence on the issue earlier this week and said that whatever he has to say, he will say in Nagpur only. "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," Mukherjee was quoted as saying by Bengali newspaper Anandabazar Patrika.

14:03 (IST)

RSS to livestream event from 6.30 pm onwards

Former president and senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee will be addressing the valedictory function of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's (RSS) Sangh Shiksha Varg — a training camp for the volunteers — at the headquarters in Nagpur on Thursday.

13:57 (IST)

Pranab Mukherjee to attend RSS event in Nagpur today amid much criticism

Former president Pranab Mukherjee arrived in Nagpur on Wednesday to attend an RSS event on Thursday which has generated a lot of interest and controversy over the last few days.

Mukherjee, who had been in the Congress for most of his political career and had been slamming the RSS, will attend the valedictory function of the 'Sangh Shiksha Varg' in Nagpur, the headquarters of the Sangh fountainhead.

Mukherjee accepting the invite from the RSS has generated a lot of interest as well as controversy, with Congress leaders urging him not to attend the event in the "interest of secularism". – PTI

Pranab Mukherjee at RSS event latest updates: Former president and Congress veteran Pranab Mukherjee visited the birth place of the RSS founding Sarsanghachalak Keshav Baliram Hedgewar ahead of his much-anticipated speech at the Sangh headquarters in Nagpur. Reports said that the visit was a impromptu decision and not a part of the planned schedule.

As the country wonders what former president Pranab Mukherjee might say at Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) headquarters in Nagpur on Thursday, his last speech as president in 2017 reflects the thoughts and concerns that had engaged him throughout his over five-decade-long political career.

Unlike his 2012 speech when he took over as president in which he made a passing reference, pluralism and tolerance dominated the 2017 address.

“I want to share with you some truths that I have internalized in this period. The soul of India resides in pluralism and tolerance. India is not just a geographical entity. It carries a history of ideas, philosophy, intellect, industrial genius, craft, innovation and experience. Plurality of our society has come about through assimilation of ideas over centuries.

Former president Pranab Mukherjee arrives at Nagpur Airport, in Maharashtra. PTI

Former president Pranab Mukherjee arrives at Nagpur Airport, in Maharashtra. PTI

“The multiplicity in culture, faith and language is what makes India special. We derive our strength from tolerance. It has been part of our collective consciousness for centuries. There are divergent strands in public discourse. We may argue, we may agree or we may not agree.

“But we cannot deny the essential prevalence of multiplicity of opinion. Otherwise, a fundamental character of our thought process will wither away,” said the lifelong Congressman on the last day of his career.

Mukherjee, who has been critical of the RSS, is set to address its activists in Nagpur on Thursday. This will be his first speech from the RSS platform.

Accepting an invitation from the Hindutva group has sparked controversy with some of his former Congress colleagues and Left leaders expressing their reservations over his participation in the RSS meeting.

However, what he is going to speak about at the Nagpur gathering remains a guess. He has said whatever he has to speak would be only known when he addresses the meeting.

In his last speech as the president, Mukherjee had expressd his concern about increasing violence and how darkness, fear and mistrust was at the heart of this violence. Power of non-violence has to be resurrected to build a caring society to ensure participation of all sections of the people, he said.

While pluralism along with environment and inclusion engaged Mukherjee last year as he readied to hang up his boots after a very successful career, his first speech as president in 2012 was markedly different and focussed mainly on poverty, terrorism and corruption. He talked on education both the times.

The first topic Mukherjee touched in his 2012 speech was poverty after making the same overarching statement on basic fundamentals for a modern nation – democracy, secularism and equality. Real development is when the poorest feel they are part of the narrative of rising India, he said.

“There is no humiliation more abusive than hunger. Trickle-down theories do not address the legitimate aspirations of the poor. We must lift those at the bottom so that poverty is erased from the dictionary of modern India.”

However, then, too, Mukherjee’s faith in secularism is reflected in the solitary line on the topic when he said: “Our social harmony is the sublime co-existence of temple, mosque, church, gurudwara and synagogue; they are symbols of our unity in diversity.”

With inputs from PTI


Published Date: Jun 07, 2018 17:41 PM
| Updated Date: Jun 07, 2018 17:45 PM


Updated Date: Jun 07, 2018 17:45 PM

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