RSS, VHP functionaries attended Modi’s swearing ceremony

modi-frontNEW DELHI: In an unprecedented event, Narendra Modi’s swearing-in function will see Sangh Parivar leaders sharing the same space – the Rashtrapati Bhawan forecourt – with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

While RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat will not be there, four senior leaders – joint general secretaries Suresh Soni and Dattatreya Hosbole, national executive member Indresh Kumar and senior Sangh functionary Ram Madhav – will attend the ceremony.

Interestingly, RSS or any of the other Sangh Parivar leaders were not invited for Vajpayee’s swearing-in ceremony in 1998.

Sangh Parivar invitees will also include senior VHP leader Ashok Singhal, who on Saturday even said, the VHP has no objection to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif being invited to Modi’s swearing-in. “We have distanced ourselves with our neighbours. We have not maintained relations with our neighbours in the manner that we should have. To invite Nawaz Sharif, is in keeping with the neighbourly norms. The country now has able leader who has sent out an invitation to his neighbours, but will also give a fitting reply in case serial blasts happen. And if invitations come, we will go for the function…” Singhal told reporters here.

The saffron brigade of invitees will also include some of the top Hindu religious leaders (sant samaj ke log), according to Sangh sources. “The names of the sants who will be attending the function are still being finalised,” a source said.

Former editor of Panchjanya and a Rajya Sabha member Tarun Vijay told TOI, “Initially the invitee lists for state functions, including those for Independence Day and Republic Day, never included any RSS leaders. The same lists continued when Vajpayeeji’s swearing-in happened.” Asked about RSS leaders not being invited to Vajpayee’s swearing-in function, he said, “We wrote strong editorials on it and Pramod Mahajan, who was I&B minister then, apologised for it after which things were corrected. We had said that RSS leaders should be invited for being RSS leaders and not as individuals.”

Source: Times of India