Nagpur: Former President of India and a Congress leader for his entire life, Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday described RSS Founder Keshav Baliram Hedgewar as a “great son of Mother India’.
In a visitor’s book at Hedgewar’s birthplace ahead of his much-anticipated speech at the RSS headquarters, Mukherjee wrote, “Today I came here to pay my respect and homage to a great son of Mother India.”
Pranab was welcomed by Mohan Bhagwat at the RSS headquarters. He had to walk through narrow lanes to reach the house where Hedgewar was born and also removed his shoes before entering the place.
News agency PTI quoted sources as saying that the visit to pay tributes to Hedgewar was not part of Mukherjee’s scheduled itinerary and an impromptu decision was taken by the former president himself to do so.
Pranab visited RSS headquarters in Nagpur today despite strong opposition from secular leaders including the top leadership of Congress.
In fact, hours before Ahmed Patel tweeted reportedly at the behest of Sonia Gandhi that "he never expected this from Pranab da", it was Sharmistha Mukherjee, Pranab's daughter who actually led those opposing Pranab's visit to RSS headquarter.
“Hope @CitiznMukherjee now realises from todays’ incident, how BJP dirty tricks department operates. Even RSS wouldn’t believe that you are going to endorse its views in your speech. But the speech will be forgotten, visuals will remain and those will be circulated with fake statements", Sharmistha Mukherjee said in a message posted on Twitter.
"By going to Nagpur, you are giving BJP/RSS full handle to plant false stories, spread false rumours as today and making it somewhat believable. And this is just the beginning!” she added.
Mukherjee, who reached Nagpur last evening, has been invited by the RSS to address its Shiksha Varg and attend a parade by the Sangh workers on completion of the training camp. It is an annual training camp, meant for swayamsevaks in their third year in the organisation. The RSS holds training camps for first, second and third-year swayamsewaks.
Hedgewar founded the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in Nagpur in 1925, with the intention of promoting the concept of a united India rooted in Hinduism ideology. After founding the RSS, Hedgewar started the tradition of keeping the RSS away from the anti-British Indian Independence movement and carefully avoided any political activity that could be construed as being anti-British.
When the Congress passed the Purna Swaraj resolution in its Lahore session in December 1929 and called upon all Indians to celebrate 26 January 1930 as Independence Day, Hedgewar issued a circular asking all the RSS shakhas to observe the occasion through hoisting and worship of the Saffron flag, rather than the Tricolor which was, by consensus, considered the flag of the Indian national movement at that time.
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