Despite an invitation extended from the Rashtrapati Bhavan, former Congress President Rahul Gandhi stayed away from Pranab Mukherjee’s Bharat Ratna event. The former President was conferred with the highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna in a ceremony hosted at the Rashtrapati Bhavan last evening.
While it is not yet clear why he chose to skip the function felicitating one of the party’s veteran leaders, there were speculations that it might be because of the fact that Mukherjee chose to attend an RSS event last year. The former President had hailed Hedgewar, the founder of the RSS as a ‘great son of Mother India’. Even back then Congress had displayed displeasure at his decision. Moreover, Rahul Gandhi even chose not to tweet his congratulations to Mukherjee. Also missing in the function were UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi as well as former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh.
Earlier this year, it was announced that the Bharat Ratna would be conferred on Pranab Mukherjee, Bhupen Hazarika and Nanaji Deshmukh. Pranab Kumar Mukherjee (born 11 December 1935) is a veteran Congress leader from West Bengal who served as the 13th President of India from 2012 until 2017. He was a union minister in various portfolios in several Congress governments at the centre, and a long term member of the Lok Sabha. In a career spanning over five decades, he held key portfolios in governments headed by former prime ministers Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, PV Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh.