Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel tweeted his strong disapproval over Pranab Mukherjee’s participation in the RSS event. Patel’s reaction came this afternoon, which is reported to be backed by the former Congress boss Sonia Gandhi.
Earlier on Wednesday, Pranab Mukherjee’s daughter and Congress leader Sharmistha Mukherjee disapproved his decision, saying he was giving the BJP and the Sangh a handle to plant false stories, as his “speech will be forgotten” but the “visuals will remain”.
Posting on Twitter late on Wednesday evening, Sharmistha said, “@CitiznMukherjee By going 2 Nagpur, u r giving BJP/RSS full handle 2 plant false stories, spread falls rumours as 2day & making it somewhat believable. And this is just d beginning!”.
Mukherjee, a long standing Congressman before becoming President had often criticised the ideological standpoint of the RSS during his active political career. RSS is an ideological fountainhead of the BJP, which has been Congress’ chief political rival.
Another senior Congress leader Anand Sharma is reported to have spoken to Pranab Mukherjee urging him to reconsider his invite sometime last week.
Also taking a critical note, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera in his write-up on a web portal Firstpost opined that the RSS is seeking to draw ‘legitimacy’ for itself by inviting a tall political and intellectual stalwart like Mr. Mukherjee.
Though senior Congress leader Sushil Kumar Shinde said former President Pranab Mukherjee accepting an invite to attend an RSS event was “not wrong” as the latter was a secular person and a very good thinker.
“Pranab Mukherjee is a secular person. He will always put forth a secular view which he will do there (at the RSS event) as well. He is a very good thinker, and his going there and speaking on that platform is very important,” Shinde said.
Meanwhile, senior RSS functionaries have praised the former President of accepting the invite of their flagship event.
There was nothing odd about Mukherjee accepting the invite, considering that he had called RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat to the Rashtrapati Bhavan during his tenure as president despite their ideological differences, said a senior RSS functionary.