Shinde says Pranab's Nagpur visit important

Sushilkumar Shinde said he would be more than pleased if Pranab Mukherjee's talk at the RSS headquarters in Nagpur on Thursday would help bring improvement in the saffron organisation. PTI file photo

The Congress appeared divided over former president Pranab Mukherjee's decision to accept an invitation from the RSS with senior leader Sushilkumar Shinde saying it was important to speak on the saffron platform.

Shinde said he would be more than pleased if Mukherjee's talk at the Sangh Shiksha Varg at the RSS headquarters in Nagpur on Thursday would help bring improvement in the saffron organisation.

Earlier, a number of Congress leaders P Chidambaram, Jairam Ramesh, C K Jaffer Sharief and Ramesh Chennithala had expressed strong disapproval at Mukherjee accepting the RSS invite to speak at their platform.

“He will always put forth a secular view which he will do there (at the RSS event) as well. He is a very good thinker, and his going there and speaking on that platform is very important,” Shinde, a former Union home minister, said.

Chidambaram, former finance minister, said he would not have accepted the invite from the RSS, but asked Mukherjee to utilise his visit to convey to the RSS what was wrong with their ideology.

Congress leaders argue that Mukherjee's presence at an RSS event would impart legitimacy to the organisation the party so despises.

The RSS defended the invitation to Mukherjee and pointed out that even Mahatma Gandhi and Jaiprakash Narayan attended their functions. It said late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had invited RSS workers for the Republic Day parade in 1963 after being impressed with its work.

Chennithala said that Mukherjee’s decision to attend the function has come as a “rude shock to the secular minds.”

The former president will be the chief guest at the valedictory session of the ‘Tritiya Varsh Varg’ or the Third Year Course organised by RSS.

Mukherjee has shared a good rapport with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, who had visited Rashtrapati Bhawan on a couple of occasions.

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Shinde says Pranab's Nagpur visit important

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