RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Monday expressed grief over the death of former President Pranab Mukherjee, hailing him as “a great scholar and a patriot” whose loss cannot be compensated.
“India’s former President Dr Pranab Mukherjee’s passing away is a huge loss for all swayamsevaks who had come in contact with him. I had met him twice when he was President and three to four times afterwards,” Mohan Bhagwat said in a video message in Hindi.
The very first meeting with him made me forget that I was speaking to President of India due to his humble behaviour.
“I felt like speaking to elder member of my family,” he said.
Mohan Bhagwat recalled Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to a key Sangh event (the Tritya Varsh training programme) held at Reshimbagh ground here in Maharashtra on June 7, 2018 amid criticism by several Congress leaders.
“We all became a fan of his simplicity and cordial behaviour when he himself came forward and stood up to introduce himself to all, saying ‘as we all have gathered here to know each other, let me first introduce myself to you’.
“This he did before the introductory remarks were made by the programme compere,” Mohan Bhagwat recalled.
Pranab Mukherjee was a very experienced and knowledgeable person who was a “guiding elder” to everybody, he said.
“We used to feel like keep talking and listening to him continuously if we could meet him and sit with him,” Mohan Bhagwat said.
The Sangh chief also praised the political acumen of Mukherjee.
“He was a very successful politician and had a very successful political journey. He knew all political strategies, but, he rose above politics and always considered everyone as his own in the interest of the nation. He used to bring people together even if there was a political conflict,” Bhagwat said.
“We have lost a scholar and a patriot who was a true source of guidance. This loss cannot be compensated. Pranab da came in the life of people like me for a shorter period, but he will be remembered forever. We all are with his family in this time of grief for them,” said Bhagwat.