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Published On: Tue, May 29th, 2018

“Ask Pranab Mukherjee , No comment” Says Congress

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MukherjeeBhagwatNEW DELHI :  Former President Pranab Mukherjee’s decision to accept the invitation extended to him by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has taken many Congress leaders by surprise. Though UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi are yet to state their stand on the matter, several party leaders have expressed reservations on the former Congress leader’s move.
According to the RSS, Mukherjee will visit the RSS headquarters in Nagpur on June 7 where he will address the Tritiya Varsh Varg. Yesterday, reports quoted an official from Mukherjee’s office confirming that the former President has given his consent to participate in the event. As per the schedule, he will travel to Nagpur on June 7 and return on June 8.
According to a Congress leader that it was Mukherjee who had in 2010 tabled a resolution in the AICC plenary meet asking the then UPA government to ‘investigate the links between the Sangh and terrorists and its sister groups that have been uncovered in some recent case’.
Meanwhile, the graded reaction of the Congress party was “Ask Pranab Mukherjee. The only comment we have is no comment,” said Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan. “All we can say is there is a lot of difference between ours and their ideology.”

That the veteran Congressman, 82, had accepted the invite to the event is a good start, said union minister Nitin Gadkari of the BJP. “Pranab Mukherjee’s acceptance of the invitation is a good start. Political untouchability is not good,” Mr Gadkari said.

Mr Mukherjee, a lifelong Congressman, has agreed to address on June 7 a camp for RSS cadre training to be volunteers or pracharaks. The camp has been organised at the RSS headquarters in Maharashtra’s Nagpur.
The RSS is the ideological mentor of the ruling BJP. Congress president Rahul Gandhi routinely accuses the organisation of trying to divide the country on religious lines and trying to run the government by remote control.
“Pranab-da has often called the RSS anti-national, unpatriotic, immoral, dubious, fraud and vicious… Am sure the RSS must know how Pranab-da feels about it. And it has called such a person,” said Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit. He added: “This means the RSS accepts whatever Pranab Mukherjee has said about them.”

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat is also expected to address hundreds of RSS workers from across the country at the same event. During his years as president, Mr Mukherjee invited Mohan Bhagwat to the Rashtrapati Bhavan despite their ideological differences.

Mr Mukherjee was the top troubleshooter of the Congress and a minister in almost every Congress government from the time Indira Gandhi was prime minister. RSS mouthpiece Organiser said this is not the first time a prominent person from outside the Sangh is visiting the Sangh Shiksha Vargs (training camp).

“In 1934, Mahatma Gandhi had attended a Sangh Shibir at Wardha and held discussions with the first Sarsanghchalak (chief) of RSS, Dr KB Hedgewar on the future of Bharat,” said an article, listing several other personalities.( With Agency inputs ).

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