The Congress was at the outset shocked when former President Pranab Mukherjee accepted the invitation of RSS to attend the SSV function. It went to the extent of saying that with the passage of age Mukherjee has lost control over his actions. In fact, the Congress was nervous because it thought that in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections it would affect its chances. But Mukherjee did attend the SSV and spent entire two days in Nagpur with RSS chef Mohan Bhagawat.
Mukherjee, who had arrived in the city a day before, spent almost the entire day understanding the RSS before addressing the valedictory function. “Mukherjee was very inquisitive and asked several questions to understand the nitty-gritties of the training of RSS cadres and the regular work carried out by Swayam sevaks,” said Anil Sambre, in-charge of media relations at RSS media wing, Vishwa Samvad Kendra. Mukherjee later went to Smriti Mandir memorials of Dr Hedgewar and M S Golwalkar the first two chiefs of Sangh to pay his respects. “This is nothing new or special for us. Every year some or the other prominent personality is invited as chief guest for the valedictory function of the SSV. The programme for all of them is almost the same. This year there is more media attention” Manmohan Vaidya, Sangh Sah Sarkaryavah.