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'Will Respond in Nagpur': Pranab Mukherjee on Calls to Skip RSS Event

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.

Sujit Nath | News18.com

Updated:June 2, 2018, 2:11 PM IST
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'Will Respond in Nagpur': Pranab Mukherjee on Calls to Skip RSS Event
File photo of President Pranab Mukherjee. (Photo : Reuters)
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Kolkata: Amid clamour for him to skip the RSS function on June 7, former President Pranab Mukherjee has said he will respond only in Nagpur.

“Whatever I have to say, I will say in Nagpur. I have received several letters and phone calls but I haven’t responded to anyone yet,” Mukherjee was quoted as saying by Bengali daily Anandabazar Patrika.

Several senior Congress leaders, including Jairam Ramesh, CK Jaffer Sharief and Ramesh Chennithala, have written to Mukherjee asking him to reconsider his decision.

Leader of opposition in the Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala has said that Mukherjee’s decision to attend the function has come as a “rude shock to the secular minds” and he asked the former President to ‘refrain’ from going to Nagpur.

Calling the RSS a ‘communal outfit’, Chennithala accused 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”.

Anandabazar Patrika quoted Ramesh citing sources. “What happened suddenly that a great leader like Pranab Mukherjee who guided us all through his political career, is now going to attend RSS event to deliver a speech,” Jairam Ramesh said, according to the Bengali daily.
However, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram has gone against the grain and asked his former colleague to go ahead with his visit to the RSS headquarters. But he has a special request for him.

Chidambaram said Mukherjee should tell the RSS what is wrong with the outfit's ideology when he addresses its event. “Now that he has accepted an invitation, there is no point debating why he did so,” said Chidambaram. “The more important thing to say is, sir you have accepted the invitation, please go there and tell them what is wrong with their ideology,” he added.

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.

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: Mayur Borah
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