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Why APJ Abdul Kalam skipped addressing RSS event in 2014? : RJP questions RSS

New Delhi: Former president APJ Abdul Kalam had once cancelled his visit to the RSS headquarters in Nagpur for an event after friends warned him that he would be labelled as an “RSS sympathiser”, claims a new book “Kalam: The Untold Story”, Rashtriya Jana Parishad (RJP) Chancellor MA Mujeeb questioned the RSS, after paying floral tributes to the former President Dr. Abdul Kalam on his birth anniversary today.

The book, written by Mr Kalam’s private secretary RK Prasad, claimed that the flip-flop by President Kalam on the visit “annoyed the RSS leadership” as they had made the arrangements and planned for publicity around his visit.

Mr Kalam eventually did visit the RSS headquarters and addressed the participants at an in-house training a month after the date that he had agreed on initially. However, none of the top brass of the organisation turned up.

October 15, 2022, marks the 91st birth anniversary of Mr Kalam. An aerospace scientist who served as the President of India from 2002 to 2007, he was widely considered the ‘People’s President’.

“In May 2014, our office received an invitation from the RSS general secretary Ram Madhav. They wanted the former President to address young RSS volunteers at a training camp in the presence of the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat,” writes Mr Prasad, who has served Mr Kalam from 1995 when he was the scientific adviser to the then Defence Minister until his death in 2015.

“The camp would conclude on June 12, and they wished to have Mr Kalam visit before that on a date convenient to him. Ram Madhav later visited Mr Kalam, and it was decided that the former President would attend the programme at the RSS headquarters on the concluding day of the training camp,” he added.

However, as a result of inputs and advice received from some of his friends, Mr Kalam changed his mind.

According to Mr Prasad, he was warned by them that a visit to the RSS headquarters would get him labelled as “RSS sympathizer” and “lead to a possible misuse of his name by the organisation”.

Not willing to go after the stern advice from his friends, as per the book, Mr Kalam asked Mr Prasad to provide an excuse to the organisation and to say that he would be glad to pay a visit there five days prior to the said event.

“I really had a rough time talking with the contact person at the RSS. The leadership got really annoyed at this sudden backing out because they had made arrangements and planned for publicity around his visit,” he added.

Notably, former President Pranab Mukherjee attended a valedictory session of the “Tritiya Varsh Varg” or the Third Year Course organised by the RSS at its headquarters in June 2018 despite criticism by the Congress and his family members.

Published by Bloomsbury, “Kalam: The Untold Story” throws new light on Mr Kalam’s relationship with political leaders, including those at the highest level, and the truth behind some of the controversies.