Congress says workers anguished by Pranab Mukherjee's visit to RSS HQ
The Congress today said images of former president Pranab Mukherjee at the RSS headquarters had anguished millions of party workers and those who believe in pluralism and diversity of the Indian republic.
Congress senior spokesperson Anand Sharma took to Twitter to express his anguish after images of Mukherjee attending a function at the RSS headquarters in Nagpur appeared on television.
"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.
"Dialogue can only be with those who are willing to listen, absorb and change. There is nothing to suggest that RSS has moved away from his core agenda as it seeks legitimacy," he added.
The tweet came in response to the RSS stating, following the controversy over Mukherjee's visit, that dialogue was important, central to RSS ideology and an old tradition of the country.
Earlier in the day, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel expressed his disapproval at the former president visiting the RSS headquarters.
Patel, who is UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi's close confidant and has been her political secretary, voiced his view on Twitter, in reply to Mukherjee's daughter who spoke out against the decision of the former president to address an RSS event.
"I did not expect this from Pranab da!" Patel said in his one line tweet.
The Congress also put out a video on its Twitter handle and an article on its website to project its view on the RSS.
The video, "RSS for Dummies: A guide for the average girl and guy", was accompanied by a post saying, "Today is a very fitting day to bring you all a primer on what the RSS really stands for."
"The video was put out in the form of a guide for the young boys and girls on what the RSS stood for and alleged that it did not participate in the freedom struggle while the Congress did," the tweet said.
It alleged that RSS founder K B Hegdewar ordered the Sangh not to participate in the satyagraha and Sangh leaders encouraged members to join the British Civic Guard.
"RSS' non-participation in India's Independence was complimented by their British masters. The Sangh opposed our national flag. Anti national Much?" it said.
The video also carried images alleging that Nathuram Godse shot and killed Gandhi and that the Manusmriti is bigger than the Constitution of India.
The theme was continued on the Congress' website with an article titled, "Never forget what the RSS stands for". It carried an image with an RSS volunteer spewing fire from his mouth.
The party recalled that the RSS is observing its Tritiya Varsh Varg' programme, in Nagpur today.
"...To start with, the RSS was never part of the freedom struggle against the British. At a time, when revolutionaries young and old were agitating against the British, the RSS leaders of yore took utmost care to ensure that nothing that they did would tick off the Brits," the article said.
"RSS stalwarts are known for their endorsement of fascist tendencies. In We or Our Nationhood Defined (1939), Golwalkar expressed admiration for the Nazis for their policy on Jews and said that this was a model that India could profit from," it said.
Mukherjee's visit to the RSS headquarters has caused much unease in the Congress with a host of Congress leaders, including his daughter Sharmistha Mukherjee opposing the visit.
The visit has given rise to a lot of speculation and has been opposed both by the party and his 'parivar'. Some Congress leaders, including Jairam Ramesh and C K Jaffar Sharief, have written to him. A few leaders of the party, including Sharma, personally visited him in a bid to dissuade him from going to Nagpur.