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Political parties indecisive how to react over Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to RSS headquarters

By Vinod

New Delhi: Much of the brouhaha has been caused on former President Pranab Mukherjee's consent to participate in a programme of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at its headquarters at Reshmi Bagh in Nagpur on June 7.

Pranab Mukjherjee

If the Sangh Pariwar appears to be upbeat on this development then the others especially anti-Sangh forces are furious and some of them are non-committal.

Besides yeasayers and nesayers, there are some political outfits, which are brushing aside question on this issue and are not ready to say anything. Left Front is still not ready to speak for and against it.

A source in the Left Front said that there was a brain-storming session on this issue and party was divided on the issue with one faction saying that former President must not be brought into such controversy while the other faction was of the view that it is unfortunate that institutions like Presidents and governor are turning towards a particular hue.

The response of the RSS on this has been very aggressive. Narendra Kumar of the RSS said that this is not a new practice in the RSS. The RSS has been inviting people active in the social service in its programmes. "It is the greatness of the former President that he had accepted our proposal", said Kumar.

He said that Gandhi ji visited Sangh Camp in Wardha in 1934. The first RSS chief K B Hedgewar visited him in his cottage. This was mentioned by Gandhi ji on September 16, 1947 while interacting with RSS workers.

But the Congress and Samajwadi leaders are very critical to the decision of the President without being specific.

If Samajwadi leaders are not ready to speak against him in open by saying that there is no point speaking about this with the hope that decision could still be withdrawn. But the Congress is critical about it.

However, it refrained from making any comment as such when it said 'No comment' on being asked. "The only comment we have is no comment," said Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan.

"All we can say is there is a lot of difference between ours and their ideology." Meanwhile senior Congress leader C K Jaffer Sharief wrote a letter to former President Pranab Mukherjee requesting him to 'reconsider and avoid visiting' the RSS headquarters.

A political analyst Rajvir Sharma told One India that former President visiting RSS headquarters by listening his inner consciousness. There is a need to understand that the RSS has been working for the society, national unity and different areas of human importance.

Sharma said that the Congress leaders like Nehru invited RSS to participate in Republic Day parade in 1963 after war with China, second Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri praised the RSS which L K Advani mentioned in his speech during the 70the anniversary of the RSS, former vice President Zakir Hussain praised RSS, Vivekanand Memorial was built by the signature of 300 MPs that was facilitated by Eknath Ranade and even Jay Prakash Narayan praised the RSS for its work.

But Nitin Gadkari, Union Transport minister and Lok Sabha MP from the Nagpur constituency where RSS headquarters is situated, said, "Mukherjee's acceptance of the invitation is a good start. Political untouchability is not good."

On being asked about the reported reservations in the Congress over the former President accepting the RSS invite, Gadkari said that RSS was not Pakistan's ISI but an organisation of nationalists.

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