Mohan Bhagwat says not in presidential race, wants to continue working with RSS | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Mohan Bhagwat says not in presidential race, wants to continue working with RSS

President Pranab Mukherjee’s term comes to an end in July and there are speculations that the Narendra Modi government would look for a fresh face for the nation’s highest office

india Updated: Mar 29, 2017 18:24 IST
Pradip Maitra
Mohan Bhagwat
The 66-year-old Bhagwat said he wouldn’t accept the post of President even if he was offered it(HT FILE PHOTO)

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat scotched speculation on Wednesday that he was in the running to be India’s next President, preferring to continue working for his organisation that acts as the ruling BJP’s ideological anchor.

“I read the speculation in newspapers. There is lots of news in newspapers, including entertainment-based items, so I consider it one of them,” he said at a meeting in Nagpur, where the RSS headquarters is located.

His clarification comes days after the Shiv Sena proposed Bhagwat’s name for the presidential elections scheduled in July, saying the “dream” of a “Hindu rashtra” would be fulfilled with the RSS chief at the helm of the country.

But the 66-year-old Bhagwat said he wouldn’t accept the post of President even if he was offered it. He said he would like to continue his work at the RSS.

A senior swayamsevak said Bhagwat was a guiding force for all affiliated organizations of the RSS. “How can he accept such a post, leaving the RSS?”

President Pranab Mukherjee’s term comes to an end in July and there are speculations that the Narendra Modi government would look for a fresh face for the nation’s highest office.

The BJP’s sweeping victory in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand has stacked the numbers in electoral college - the body that chooses the President -in the favour of the government. The electoral college comprises 776 parliamentarians and 4,120 legislators. Its total strength is 10, 98,882 votes and the halfway mark is 5, 49,442 votes. The NDA is just short by 25,000 votes – a gap that can be easily bridged by smaller parties such as the AIADMK.