Nagpur: India’s former President Pranab Mukherjee reached Nagpur where he is slated to address a gathering of 800 RSS pracharaks on June 7. He will address the Hindutva organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS’) concluding ceremony of sangh shiksha varg – Tritya Varsh tomorrow at 6.30 pm. It is the first time ever that Mukherjee will speak at an RSS platform.
The RSS invited the former President to be the Chief Guest at the concluding function of the ‘Tritya Varsh Varg’ 2018. Mukherjee faced a backlash from left leaders and his Congress colleagues for his decision to attend the Hindu organisation‘s event which has often been accused of propagating communalism. Senior Congress leaders, as well as the Left-wing leaders, urged him not to attend the meet, citing ideological differences.
RSS’ event Sangh Shiksha Varg, which started in 1927, is an annual event held at the organisation’s headquarters in Nagpur. The event, initially called Officers’ Training Camp (OTC) was started by the founder KB Hedgewar and renamed MS Golwalkar. RSS’ cadres are addressed by the chief guest at the last day of the training.
Reacting to the controversy over Pranab’s decision to attend, RSS hit back saying eminent personalities have attended the event ever since its conception. Former Central Provinces Home Minister Sir Moropant Joshi was the first Chief Guest at the event in 1933. Other noted members of the society who attended the event were:
Former Air Chief Marshal AY Tipnis was the Chief Guest at 2007 event, made a speech on secularism and tolerance at the event. JP Rajkhowa, former Chief secretary of Assam in 2010, Vijawada industrialist Dr Gangu Raju in 2011, Ashwini Kumar of Punjab Kesari in 2013, Sri Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in 2014.
Former Nepal army chief Rookmangud Katawa, Gandhian health activist Abhay Bang, Republican Party of India Chief RS Gavai, former CBI Chief Joginder Singh.