New Delhi, May 29: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on Tuesday praised forner president and Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee for accepting an invitation to address its workers in Nagpur on June 7.
“This isn’t surprising for those who know and understand the Sangh, because RSS has always invited prominent people of the society in its programmes. This time, we invited Dr Pranab Mukherjee and it’s his greatness that he has accepted our invitation,” read a statement from the RSS.
The former president will address the Third Year Sangha Shiksha Varga (SSV), which is held at the RSS headquarters annually in Nagpur.
Mukherjee’s party, the Congress, was silent on the issue. “No comments”, was Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan’s response when asked about Mukherjee visiting the RSS headquarters.
He said since the event is yet to happen he would not comment on it and the Congress will formulate its thoughts once the event takes place.
But former MP and Delhi Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit pointed out that Mukherjee had in the past criticised the RSS and the BJP, calling them “communal” and “anti-national”.
“If the RSS has invited a person with such views, does this mean that the RSS admits that his (Pranab’s) views about the organisation were correct,” Dikshit asked.
Union minister and BJP leader Nitin Gadkari termed Mukherjee’s move a “good start.”
“The RSS is not Pakistan’s ISI. The RSS is an organisation of nationalists,” Gadkari said at a press conference in Mumbai. “Mukherjee’s acceptance of the invitation is a good start. Political untouchability is not good,” he said.
Mukherjee served as the president of India from 2012 to 2017. He also held several cabinet posts ranging from finance minister to external affairs minister in a political career that spanned nearly six decades.
Mahatma Gandhi, former president Zakir Husain, activist Jayaprakash Narayan and commander-in-chief of the Indian Army, Kodandera M. Cariappa have previously been guests at various RSS events. (Agencies)