Congress refrains from commenting on Pranab Mukherjee attending RSS event
Congress is bemused over reports of former president Pranab Mukerjee's decision to be a chief guest at an RSS event in Nagpur on June 7 and refrained from commenting on it. Congress is indeed in a fix because party president Rahul Gandhi targets RSS at almost every rally and function. Rahul had even tried to link RSS with recent deaths during anti-Sterlite protests in Tamil Nadu's Thoothukudi.
Another thing is that both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are out of the country and this makes it more difficult for the Congress to react on the matter.
According to the RSS, Mukherjee will be the chief guest at its valedictory session of the 'Tritiya Varsh Varg' or the Third Year Course on June 7. Mukherjee is said to have given his consent to participate in the programme.
"He is an intelligent person. He has been the President of India. He is secular minded. So there will be no change in his behaviour by going there. He will remain the same," former Union Minister and senior Congress leader Sushil Kumar Shinde told The Indian Express.
Former defence minister AK Antony refused to comment on the matter altogether, saying that he was not aware about it.
Congress' Manish Tewari said "the best person to answer that question is the former President himself", as per an Indian Express report.
"The invitation was extended to him. He has accepted the invitation. Ostensibly he is going. So therefore, if there are any queries with regard to that, he is the best person to answer that," said Tewari.
RSS ideologue Rakesh Sinha said that questions raised on RSS-Hindutva have been answered by Mukherjee accepting the invitation.
"Former President Pranab Mukherjee's acceptance to attend RSS event in Nagpur sends a message to the country that on vital issues there should be dialogue and adversaries are not enemies," Sinha reportedly said.
Mukherjee, 82, demitted office of president in July last year and has been a Congressman for decades having worked closely with former prime minister Indira Gandhi as well as Rajiv Gandhi. In his last tenure before demitting office, he served as finance minister in the UPA II government headed by former prime minister Manmohan Singh.