The number of applicants seeking to join the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has increased several times since former President Pranab Mukherjee attended an event at the organisation’s headquarters earlier this month, the outfit’s senior leader Biplab Roy said on Monday.

“From June 1 to June 6, on an average, we used to receive 378 requests everyday on our website ‘Join RSS’ at the national level,” Roy said at a press conference in Kolkata, PTI reported. “On June 7, the day Mukherjee addressed our Shiksha Varg, we received 1,779 requests. After June 7, we have been receiving 1,200-1,300 requests everyday.” About 40% of these requests are from Mukherjee’s home state, West Bengal, Roy said.

On June 7, Mukherjee delivered a speech at an RSS event in Nagpur. His decision to attend the event had caused consternation in his party. Before the event, some Congress leaders had downplayed Mukherjee’s decision while leaders such as Jairam Ramesh, Ramesh Chennithala and CK Jaffer Sharief had urged him to reconsider his decision.

After the speech, however, the Congress said Mukherjee had shown the RSS the “mirror of truth”. Mukherjee’s daughter had criticised him, especially after a morphed photo of the former president began doing the rounds on social media.

When asked if Mukherjee’s presence at the event has increased the RSS’ popularity, Roy said that would be a wrong interpretation of the situation. “RSS is popular among masses because of its activities in the society,” Roy claimed. “But, yes after Pranab Mukherjee’s address, there has been an increase in such interests among the masses.”