ranab showed a mirror to the RSS’ this was the initial reaction of the Congress soon after former President of India finished his speech at the annual passing out parade of the RSS in Nagpur on the evening of June 7, 2018. The basis of the comment was Pranab Mukherjee’s theme of speech on nation and nationalism.
But the fine prints of speech of Pranab Mukherjee as the chief guest of the function and the speech of Mohan Bhagwat, Sarsanchalak of the RSS show that the RSS head said exactly the same thing in sum and substance that Mukherjee said on pluralism, composite culture and unity in diversity.
Mohan Bhagwat said, “We embrace all, we are not just for one section. RSS believes in unity in diversity. Every citizen born in India is an Indian. It is his right to worship our motherland. We Indians are all one and united.”
Pranab Mukherjee said, “The soul of India resides in pluralism and tolerance. This plurality of our society has come through assimilation of ideas over centuries. Secularism and inclusion are a matter of faith for us. It is our composite culture which makes us into one nation”.
Mohan Bhagwat, “There are times when we had our differences but we are all sons of the same soil – India. Diversity should be accepted, it’s good. We are all one, even in this diversity. Government alone cannot do everything, citizens also have to contribute. Only then can a country change.”
Pranab Mukherjee, “Peaceful co-existence, compassion, respect for life, and harmony with nature form the foundation of our civilisation. Every time a child or woman is brutalised, the soul of India is wounded”.
Well, after reading the lines of Mohan Bhagwat and Pranab Mukherjee on nation and nationalism, one should suggest to the Congress to look at the mirror itself and ask. “Mirror, Mirror, who is righteous of all?”
Mirror tells, “Not you, of course”.
Has Pranab still any political ambition left in him?
I was flabbergasted to hear and read the comments that linked Pranab Mukherjee’s accepting invitation from the RSS chief to be the chief guest at the Nagpur event with ‘political ambition’. It was suggested that the former President wanted to return to ‘active politics’.
I wonder what political ambition a person may have after being resident of Rashtrapati Bhavan as the first citizen of the country. Can a person indulge in politics to occupy any office or hold any position after being the President of India? The answer is simply no.
Mukherjee is 82-year-old. He has been a Member of Parliament for several terms. He has a career of 50 years in public life that included his five-year term as the President of India from 2012-2017.
Another wild observations were made on June 7 saying that Pranab Mukherjee was invited by the RSS to attend the Nagpur function because in the event of a fractured verdict in 2019 Lok Sabha election, Mukherjee will be utilised to garner support from the regional and smaller political parties for the BJP to help form the government since Mukherjee has wide contacts with political leaders of all hues.
A similar campaign was launched by some vested interests in the BJP when the name of Bhairon Singh Shekhawat gained currency in 2002 that he was the likely choice of the BJP to become President of the Party. Atal Behari Vajpayee was then Prime Minister of India.
- Jana Krishnamurthi, the then BJP President was to retire. Shekhawat was the obvious choice. But the then Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani was advised by his supporters to stop Shekhawat from becoming the Party President. The reason advanced was that Shekhawat shared cordial relations with political parties in the opposition. The Lok Sabha election was due for 2004. Advani was told that should Shekhawat become BJP President, he will be the next Prime Minister as many non-BJP political parties would prefer Shekhawat over Vajpayee or Advani in case of BJP not getting the sufficient number of seats.
The result was, the Advani group got active and pushed Shekhawat to become 11th Vice President of India in August 2002. In the corridors of Parliament, the late Pramod Mahajan told a group of journalists that he had launched A P J Abdul Kalam to occupy the chair of President of India and soon he will launch Shekhwat as the next Vice President. Shekhawat shortly before becoming Vice President agreed and shared this internal political manoeuvring with some journalists who covered Parliament then.
This is foolhardy to think of Pranab Mukherjee becoming tools at the hands of politicians at this stage. This is a fact that many leaders still visit the residence of former President Mukherjee on Rajaji Marg in New Delhi for political consultations simply because of his vast knowledge and long-standing in politics.
But informed sources say that Mukherjee is terribly annoyed with the manner in which the Congress leaders ran him down for accepting the invitation of the RSS head Mohan Bhagwat. He is also not happy with the leadership of Rahul Gandhi. He was loyal and committed to Indira Gandhi who brought him to mainstream politics by getting Mukherjee elected to Rajya Sabha for the first time in 1969. But has not forgotten the year 2004 when he expected that Sonia Gandhi would propose his name for Prime Minister’s office when Congress got the support of parties like the DMK, the Samajwadi Party and the Left Front to form the government. Instead, Sonia Gandhi sprung a surprise by anointing Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister of India in 2004.
The best summary of the high pitched political debate that dominated the country for more than two weeks has come from Mohan Bhagwat.
“Everyone in this country knows the personality of Pranab Mukherjee. We are grateful that we are able to learn something from him. How Pranabji was called and how he is coming is not a matter of debate. Sangh is Sangh, Pranab is Pranab.”
R K SINHA
(The writer is a Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha)