Congress baffled over Pranab attending RSS event

Congress baffled over Pranab attending RSS event

In picture: Former President Pranab Mukherjee.

Former President Pranab Mukherjee's “acceptance” to participate in a function of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in Nagpur on June 7 sparked off a political row leaving Congress party stunned.

The reaction in Congress ranged from silence to shock. While party spokesperson Tom Vadakkan tried to duck a direct reply saying he has come to know about the issue from media reports and is collecting further details. “ "The event has not happened. At present I have no comments to offer till the event takes place,” he told reporters at the AICC.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit's son Sandeep Dikshit, a former Lok Sabha MP said, “Pranab Da used to tell us and others that RSS was more dangerous than a snake. His views on RSS have been the same as of Congress, that RSS is communal, anti-Dalit and anti-Constitution. Then suddenly why he decided to attend an event of RSS. Is he going to tell RSS this when he attends the event in Nagpur? Have his views on RSS changed or RSS has accepted his views about the organisation,” Dikshit said.

Dikshit also reminded that Mukherjee was part of Congress government when RSS was banned---twice during the tenure of Indira Gandhi and P V Narsimha Rao, the third time since the organisation came into being.

At a press conference in Mumbai, senior BJP leader and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, however, hailed the former President's decision saying “Mukherjee's acceptance of the invitation is a good start. Political untouchability is not good.”

Gadkari also said, "The RSS is not Pakistan's ISI. The RSS is an organisation of nationalists."Gadkari also cited an example saying when he became BJP national president, he went to the CPM headquarters to seek the blessings of A B Bardhan, who hails from Nagpur and whom he considers an icon."

Tripura Governor Tathagata Roy, who has often landed in controversy over his tweets and remarks, said on Twitter, “In the context of ex-president Shri Pranab Mukherjee’s projected visit to RSS headquarters at Nagpur, I am astounded at people still mouthing the Goebbelsian lie that RSS killed Gandhiji. If that were true why did the Congress Govt after banning the RSS lift its ban?