Senior Karnataka Congress leader C K Jaffer Sharief on Saturday differed from his party’s stand on reports of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat being considered as a candidate for the post of President. In a letter purportedly written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sharief supported Bhagwat’s candidacy and said nobody should have objections about it.
“There are different schools of thought in India and it is but natural for such a vast country. Mr. Mohan Bhagwat may belong to one school of thought but there should not be any doubt about his patriotism, love for the people of India and loyalty to the nation,” Sharief reportedly wrote in the letter.
The 83-year-old’s surprise backing of Bhagwat comes in direct conflict with the Congress party’s stand on the issue.
“It is very clear that we do not support RSS ideology and when it comes to appointing our President, at the right time, we will, of course, have our own internal discussion first and then share,” party leader Gaurav Gogoi told reporters in New Delhi.
It was Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut who began the speculation on Bhagwat when he said the RSS sarsanghchalak should be considered as the NDA candidate for the presidential polls later this year. Current president Pranab Mukherjee’s tenure ends on July 24.
“Bhagwat is a strong leader, a staunch nationalist and has a deep knowledge of the Constitution, so if the BJP wants to make India a ‘Hindu Rashtra’, his name must be considered.. He is the most ideal candidate,” Raut had said.
Bhagwat himself however made it clear that he was not interested in the post. “We close all doors on politics before coming here. When we work in the Sangh, we don’t go there (to such high posts). There are many Swayamsevaks up there and they know it well,” the RSS chief said adding that even if his name was nominated, he would not accept it.