New Delhi: Former president Pranab Mukherjee’s much-anticipated speech at the RSS headquarters in Nagpur on Thursday drew widespread praise across the political spectrum.
Senior BJP leader Ram Madhav said, “Great address by Dr Pranab Mukherjee at Nagpur. His address and (RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s) address are in a way complementary to each other. ‘Nation first’ is the core message of both. Democracy and striving for the welfare of all the people is described by both as the core of ancient Indian nationalism.”
Great address by Dr Pranab Mukharjee at Nagpur. His address n Dr Bhagwat’s address r in a way complementary to each other. Nation First is d core message of both. Democracy n striving for d welfare of all d people is described by both as d core of ancient Indian nationalism
— Ram Madhav (@rammadhavbjp) June 7, 2018
However, on the other side of the political divide, the Congress said former president Pranab Mukherjee has shown the mirror of truth to the RSS at its headquarters and asked whether the Sangh and the BJP would admit mistakes and change their “character, orientation, thought process” after accepting his “sagacious advice”.
Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala said that Mukherjee, in his speech at RSS headquarter in Nagpur, reminded them of India’s pluralism, tolerance, secularism and inclusiveness and hoped that the RSS would come out with a reply admitting its mistakes and doing course-correction.
Congress, however, played down Mukherjee hailing KB Hedgewar as a “great son of Mother India” and dubbed it as a mere formality.
“As a guest what Pranab Mukherjeeji said should be discussed and highlighted, not the unwarranted formalities,” he said when asked about the remark.
CPM leader Sitaram Yechury took a dig both at the Congress and the RSS by saying, “In the ‘history capsule’ delivered by Pranab Mukherjee at the RSS headquarters, the absence of Mahatma Gandhi and his assassination speaks volumes…He (Mukherjee) would have done well to remind the RSS of its own history — banned thrice by Congress governments, the first time by Sardar Patel, following Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination. ‘RSS men expressed joy and distributed sweets after Gandhiji’s death’, Patel wrote to Golwalkar.”
AAP leader Ashutosh too hailed Mukherjee’s speech, saying, “Pranab da raised his stature. Dialogue is the only way forward…Secularism is a must, he told the RSS. The RSS wants to decimate Nehru; he told them that the way forward is Nehru’s path of confluence.”
Meanwhile, TMC also criticised Pranab Mukherjee for accepting the invitation of the RSS. “When the entire country is fighting against the divisive politics of RSS, Pranab Mukherjee’s decision to attend RSS event has left us astonished,” TMC secretary-general Partha Chatterjee said.
“This is really unacceptable from a person like Pranab Mukherjee. We are really pained by his decision. I personally feel he has himself meted out injustice to the political stature he had achieved in last several decades,” Chatterjee said.
Earlier, there was considerable unease in the Congress, which put out a video on its official Twitter handle and an article on its website attacking the RSS and its ideology, that coincided with Mukherjee sharing the stage with the RSS chief at its headquarters in Nagpur.