No one is outsider for RSS, debate on Pranab meaningless: Bhagwat

No one is outsider for RSS, debate on Pranab meaningless: Bhagwat

Former president Pranab Mukherjee being welcomed by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat at the closing ceremony of Tritiya Varsha Sangh Shiksha Varg, an event to mark the conclusion of a three-year training camp for swayamsevaks, in Nagpur, on Thursday. PTI

Amid the raging controversy over Congress veteran Pranab Mukherjee attending its event, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Thursday said it was a "meaningless" debate and no one is an outsider for his organisation.

Speaking ahead of Pranab's speech, Bhagwat said Pranab will remain what he is and the Sangh will remain the Sangh even after the event.

Bhagwat said his organisation wants to unify the entire society and no one was an outsider for it. People may have different views but they are all children of mother India, he said.

Bhagwat said the Sangh has been inviting prominent people to its event every year.

Those present at Thursday's event also included former prime minister Lal Bahadu Shastri's son Sunil Shastri, and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's nephew Ardhendu Bose, his wife and son.

Earlier in the day, Pranab described Keshav Baliram Hedgewar as a "great son of Mother India" as he visited the birthplace of the RSS founding Sarsanghachalak.

"Today, I came here to pay my respect and homage to a great son of Mother India," Pranab wrote in a visitors' book at Hedgewar's birthplace ahead of his much-anticipated speech at the RSS headquarters here.

While the Sangh is often described as a Hindu right-wing organisation, it calls itself a nationalist and cultural organisation rather than a political or religious one. It was founded by Hedgewar on September 27, 1925, on Vijayadashami day at his house here.

The name 'Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh' was selected for the organisation on April 17, 1926, from a list of four names — Jaripatka Mandal, Bharat Uddharak Mandal, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

Pranab had to walk through narrow lanes to reach the house where Hedgewar was born. He removed his shoes before entering the place.

Pranab, who reached Nagpur on Wednesday 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. The camp is meant for swayamsevaks in their third year in the organisation. The RSS holds training camps for first, second and third-year swayamsewaks.