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Manmohan, Advani share a dais, ideas

Monday 16 May 2005

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HOMAGE TO A SAINT: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the former Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, pay tributes to Swami Ranganathananda, former chief of the Ramakrishna Mission, at a special memorial meeting in New Delhi on Sunday. - Photo: PTI

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Bharatiya Janata Party leader L. K. Advani shared the dais and interacted for the first time on Sunday after the Opposition boycott of Parliament for over three weeks.

The occasion was a special memorial meeting for Swami Ranganathananda, the 13th president of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, who died in Kolkata on April 25.

Dr. Singh and Mr. Advani shared the dais for close to an hour. Mr. Advani said they two interacted in an ante-room before the programme formally started. "When we were in the room, I told the Prime Minister that we both are fortunate that we know Swamiji from Karachi [before Independence] and had regular contact with him," Mr. Advani told the audience.

Pointing out that Swami Ranganathananda was regarded by disciples as the "Second Swami Vivekananda," Dr. Singh said he was "an unusually gifted individual, a teacher, a scholar, a sage, a companion of the needy and, above all, a deeply religious person and a true humanist". - PTI

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