All eyes will be on former President Pranab Mukherjee when he addresses the valedictory function of Sangh Shiksha Varg, a training camp for RSS volunteers later today in Nagpur.
The Congress stalwart landed in Nagpur on Wednesday evening. His acceptance to be the chief guest at the Sangh event at its headquarters in Nagpur has left split opinions within the Congress party.
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.
While some Congress leaders urged him to reconsider the decision, some backed his decision but largely Congress party’s official line has been of a silence.
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.
But another senior Congress leader Ripun Bora wrote to him urging to reconsider his decision, saying entire country remembers him as a veteran and dedicated Congressman and his presence at the conference will have far reaching repercussions.
“It is very surprising that you (Mukherjee) are going to attend the meeting of such an organisation which is totally opposed to the Congress’ ideology,” Bora wrote.
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.