Pranab Mukherjee and RSS

Pranab Mukherjee has been in the news for many days. For about two weeks it was about his acceptance of invitation to speak at RSS headquarters. Many Congress members did not want him to do that. Some had confidence that he will say the right thing. His daughter Sharmistha Mukherjee did not want him there even though he may say the right thing. Speech will be forgotten, picture will remain, was her point of view.
On 7/6/2018 Pranab Mukherjee delivered his speech at RSS headquarters. Congress members were happy. He showed them the mirror. Had no doubt that Pranab will do the right thing. Such were the comments by Congress members. Those who were apprehensive were relieved and satisfied.
BJP’s Ram Madhav said it was a great speech. That speech and Mohan Bhagwat’s speech were complementary to each other. Nation First is the core message of both.
Soon a morphed photo of Pranab Mukherjee wearing RSS cap and giving RSS salute appeared. Sharmistha Mukherjee said she was afraid such a thing would happen. Congress members said BJP members have done it. BJP members questioned Congress for proof and said Congress members have done it.
For long Narendra Modi’s slogan has been Congress-Free India. If RSS had endorsed that it would have been difficult for Pranab Mukherjee to address RSS members. On 1/4/2018 at a book launch in Poona RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said Congress-Free India is a political slogan. It is not the language of RSS. It wants to include everyone in the process of nation building including those who oppose it. Way for Pranab Mukherjee to address RSS members was clear.
Pranab Mukherjee insisted on two things. First, his speech will be the last during the gathering as he was former President of India and protocol demanded that. As per RSS protocol Mohan Bhagwat would have been the last speaker. When former Air Chief Marshal Anil Yashwant Tipnis was the chief guest he had indirectly spoken against RSS. Mohan Bhagwat had rebutted him immediately. Second, the chairs on the stage had to be of odd number and Pranab Mukherjee was to sit in the centre. Pranab Mukherjee had his way. He was to be the last speaker and consequently no rebuttal on stage. There were five chairs and Pranab Mukherjee was the centre.
In the days that followed speculation cropped up that RSS wants Pranab Mukherjee as Prime Minister in case BJP does not win 2019 Lok Sabha election. Sharmistha Mukherjee tweeted that her father has retired from politics and he will not get back into politics.
Meghnad Desai wrote that Pranab Mukherjee’s speech to RSS members was revenge served cold to Gandhi family for not making him Prime Minister. Gandhi family did not even make him Home Minister. It was humiliation for Pranab Mukherjee to serve under Manmohan Singh who was Governor of Reserve Bank of India when Pranab Mukherjee was Finance Minister. Rahul Gandhi speaks against RSS and Pranab Mukherjee has undercut him.

Updated: June 11, 2018 — 6:01 pm

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