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'Your Decision to Attend RSS Event Rude Shock to Secular Minds': Congress Leader Writes to Pranab

Former President Pranab Mukherjee will address Sangh workers on nationalism on June 7 and will also be the chief guest at the valedictory session of the ‘Tritiya Varsh Varg’ or the Third Year Course.

Neethu Reghukumar | CNN-News18

Updated:May 30, 2018, 5:53 PM IST
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'Your Decision to Attend RSS Event Rude Shock to Secular Minds': Congress Leader Writes to Pranab
File photo of former president Pranab Mukherjee. (PTI)
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New Delhi: Leader of opposition in Kerala Assembly and senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala has finally given expression to the disquiet within the party over former President Pranab Mukherjee’s decision to visit to RSS headquarters at Nagpur in June first week.

In a letter addressed to Mukherjee, Chennithala said that the decision to attend the function has come as a “rude shock to the secular minds”; even as the Congress leader requests the former president to ‘refrain’ from going to Nagpur.

Calling the RSS a ‘communal outfit’, Chennithala accuses the Sangh of working towards creating “a Hindu Rashtra comprising of only one section of the people which is against the Congress ideology of secularism and democracy”.

Chennithala further said the decision coming from one of the tallest leaders of the party has caused unparalleled disgruntlement among the rank and the file of the Congress.

Mukherjee will address Sangh workers on nationalism on June 7 and will also be the chief guest at the valedictory session of the ‘Tritiya Varsh Varg’ or the Third Year Course.

His accepting the invite has led to a raging debate in political circles. Although the Congress had refrained from making a comment on the issue till now, there had been enough noises from its camp to suggest its clear displeasure.

Former union minister CK Jaffer Shareif, in a letter to Mukherjee, expressed surprise over the move and said he like other secular people was "stunned" to hear about his attending the RSS function.

"I personally think that a person of your stature, being secular and in politics for decades, having served in various capacity including the highest position of Rashtrapati, visiting Sangh Parivar at this point in time before Parliament elections is not proper,” he said.

Former MP and Delhi Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit said that as a Congress leader and minister, Mukherjee has spoken about the RSS and the BJP many times on various issues and dubbed it as "bad" and "worst" outfit, which is "communal" and "anti-national".

"Pranab Mukherjee used to say that the RSS is the worst organisation in the country. Its leaders have no morals and RSS is corrupt and spreads lies. He (Mukherjee) has also said that the RSS is anti-national, unpatriotic and communal.”

"If the RSS has invited a person with such views, does this mean that the RSS admits that his (Pranab's) views about the organisation were correct," Dikshit asked. He is the son of former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit.

The RSS, on its part, claimed even Mahatma Gandhi and Jaiprakash Narayan attended their functions and former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had invited its workers for the Republic Day parade in 1963 after being impressed with its work.

Union minister Nitin Gadkari also jumped to his defence. He said, "The RSS is not Pakistan's ISI. The RSS is an organisation of nationalists." "Mukherjee's acceptance of the invitation is a good start. Political untouchability is not good," he added.
| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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