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Belur blessings tie Pranab and CM

Calcutta, June 23: Pranab Mukherjee and Mamata Banerjee may or may not meet over the Union minister’s nomination for President, but when he leaves Bengal for Delhi tomorrow a common thread would have bound the two.

Both would have been blessed by Belur Math, the headquarters of Ramakrishna Math and Mission.

Math sources said Mukherjee would be gifted a dhoti that was used to drape Sri Ramakrishna’s idol at Belur Math along with prasadam when he goes there tomorrow.

“Instead of gifting books to Pranabbabu, we have decided to gift him a dhoti, which was offered to Sri Ramakrishna at Belur Math, and prasadam,” a math member said. “When Mamata Banerjee visited Belur Math (in April), we had gifted her a sari that was offered to Ma Sarada, and a shawl.”

Mukherjee’s association with Ramakrishna Math and Mission, insiders said, dates back to the early eighties, when he used to visit the math regularly. Senior monks recalled that Mukherjee, who then too was Union finance minister, had accompanied then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to Hooghly, where she inaugurated a school run by Ramakrishna Mission.

Mukherjee’s son Abhijit had studied at the Ramakrishna Boys’ Home in North 24-Parganas’ Rahara.

Of late, Mukherjee has not been able to visit the math as frequently as he used to, the sources said.

“Tomorrow, he intends to spend some time with Swami Atmasthananda, our president,” a senior monk said.

Mukherjee is scheduled to reach Belur Math around 11am. He is expected to first visit the old shrine. He will visit the room where Swami Vivekananda had spent his last years and then go to the main temple. “Then he will meet the president in his chamber. Pranabbabu is scheduled to leave at 12.15pm,” the monk said.