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Congress Says Pranab Gave Sagacious Advice to RSS, But Not All Party Leaders Were Impressed

Speaking to News18, Tewari said that the views articulated by the former President in his speech were in complete contrast to the views he held during his 45-year career as a Congressman.

Marya Shakil | CNN-News18maryashakil

Updated:June 8, 2018, 12:08 AM IST
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Congress Says Pranab Gave Sagacious Advice to RSS, But Not All Party Leaders Were Impressed
File image of Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari.
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New Delhi: The Congress party hailed Pranab Mukherjee’s speech in Nagpur on Thursday as showing mirror to the RSS, but party leader Manish Tewari expressed a contrarian view.

Speaking to News18, Tewari said that the views articulated by the former President in his speech were in complete contrast to the views he held during his 45-year career as a Congressman.

“The entire optics was objectionable. Pranab was part of the government that banned RSS in 1992. Pranab authored the Burari resolution which took strong view on RSS. When he decides to associate with the RSS, not that he's not entitled to change his views, but he must explain why that change came about,” the Congress leader said.

Tewari’s statement is further confirmation that Pranab’s words failed to sway many Congressmen who were left disappointed by his visit. While the former President’s words delivered a strong message to the Sangh, the visuals of him sharing a stage with RSS leaders caused heartburn.

Over the last week, several Congress leaders, including Sonia Gandhi’s close aide Ahmed Patel and Mukherjee's daughter Sharmistha, had expressed their disdain at the former President for accepting the invite to the RSS event.

Patel's tweet saying "this was not expected of Pranab Da!" was construed as a direct message from the Congress high command.

Tewari also termed the address as pedestrian, neither here nor there. “Tomorrow he can give same speech at Jamiyat-Islamiyat-e Hind if they invite him - or any other college. It's a pedestrian speech about nationalism that can be delivered on any platform,” Tewari told News18.

Tewari has gone against the official position of the Congress party, which dubbed Mukherjee’s words as sagacious advice for the BJP and the RSS. At a press conference called soon after Mukherjee’s address ended, the Congress asked if the RSS and the BJP they would change their "character, orientation and thought process".

Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said that Mukherjee, in his speech at RSS headquarter in Nagpur, reminded them of India's pluralism, tolerance, secularism and inclusiveness.

He added that Mukherjee reminded the Modi government of following "rajdharma" founded upon diversity, non-violence, multi-culturalism and assimilation of ideas.

| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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