Cong heaves sigh of relief after Pranab's RSS speech

Mukherjee's mere presence at the RSS headquarters had given Congress leaders some anxious moments with senior functionaries Ahmed Patel and Anand Sharma  expressing their strong disapproval of the former President's decision to visit Nagpur.

The Congress on Thursday heaved a sigh of relief as former President Pranab Mukherjee delivered his speech at the RSS headquarters in Nagpur flagging virtues of secularism, pluralism and tolerance.

Capping all speculation to the contrary, Mukherjee took a line which was in sync with his erstwhile political party and extolled India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, a fact which was repeatedly highlighted by Congress soon after the most-awaited speech was delivered.

Mukherjee's mere presence at the RSS headquarters had given Congress leaders some anxious moments with senior functionaries Ahmed Patel and Anand Sharma  expressing their strong disapproval of the former President's decision to visit Nagpur.

However, after Mukherjee's speech, AICC spokesperson Randeep Surjewala described Patel and Sharma's remarks as a hallmark of the beauty of the Congress party that allowed airing of “diverse shades of opinion”.

“I did not expect this from Pranab da,” Patel, a close confidant of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi said on Twitter, reflecting the unease within the party high command.

Mukherjee's remarks in the visitor's book hailing RSS founder K B Hedgewar as the “great son of Mother India” further riled Congress leaders.

“The images of Pranab Da, veteran leader and ideologue at RSS Headquarters have anguished millions of Congress workers and all those who believed in pluralism, diversity and the foundational values of the Indian Republic,” Sharma said.

Mirror of truth

Surjewala welcomed Mukherjee's speech saying it had “shown the 'mirror of truth’ to the RSS by reminding them of India’s ‘pluralism’, ‘tolerance’, ‘secularism’ and ‘inclusiveness’ as an article of faith and soul of the country.”

Surjewala dismissed Mukherjee's remarks on Hedgewar as “unnecessary formalities” and wondered whether the RSS would accept the “sagacious advise of their guest” and publicly commit to change its character, orientation and thought process.

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Cong heaves sigh of relief after Pranab's RSS speech

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