Former President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday inaugurated projects under the Smartgram Yojana along with Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar in Gurugram, two days after his office categorically denied there were plans between his foundation and the RSS to collaborate on social projects.
Under the Smartgram Yojana, Mukherjee had adopted villages in Alipur, Daula, Harchandpur, Tajpur and Roz Ka Meo (in Mewat) in 2016 to create affordable and effective infrastructure for the rural population.
Haryana: Former President Pranab Mukherjee and Haryana CM ML Khattar at inauguration of projects in Smartgram Yojana. Under this scheme, Pranab Mukherjee had adopted villages in 2016, in Gurugram’s Alipur pic.twitter.com/zjvu2lc1X8
— ANI (@ANI) September 2, 2018
“They are aimed to transform villages into happy, harmonious and hi-tech villages, by connecting the villagers with the initiative,” Mukherjee said while addressing people of Harchandpur, Alipur and Nayagaon villages in this district.
On August 31, the former president brushed aside reports that the Pranab Mukherjee Foundation may collaborate with the RSS in Haryana to launch a series of projects and that he had invited several junior and senior RSS workers for Sunday’s event.
In a statement issued by his office, Mukherjee “categorically clarified that there is neither any existing collaboration nor is there any such move in the offing”. He said he would visit Gurugram at the invitation of the Haryana government to inaugurate a series of projects which began two years ago.
— Pranab Mukherjee (@CitiznMukherjee) August 31, 2018
“There have been reports in certain sections of the media suggesting that the Pranab “Mukherjee Foundation (PMF) may collaborate with RSS in Haryana”. It is categorically clarified that there is neither any existing collaboration, nor os there any such move in the offing,” the statement read.
“The Smartgram Project in Haryana started in July 2016, when Shri Pranab Mukherjee adopted some villages as the serving President and he will be visiting Gurgaon at the invitation of the Government of Haryana on September 2, 2018 to inaugurate projects started during the last two years along with Shri M L Khattar, the CM of Haryana,” it added.
In June, Mukherjee addressed an RSS event in Nagpur. Several members of the Congress, including his daughter Sharmistha, urged Mukherjee to reconsider his decision to attend the event. He shared the stage with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and several RSS functionaries at the event.