Updated: August 31, 2020 9:41:14 pm
Terming former President Pranab Mukherjee’s death “an irreparable loss to the Sangh Parivar”, Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat on Monday said the veteran Congress leader was like a guide to RSS.
“(Pranab) Mukherjee was like a guide to RSS and affectionate towards us; his death irreparable loss to Sangh,” Bhagwat was quoted by PTI as saying.
Mukherjee, a Congress loyalist, who passed away on Monday, was in 2018 attacked by the party itself for attending the RSS’ Tritiya Varsh Training programme in the headquarters in Nagpur. The former President had become a subject of criticism for his party leaders ever since news about him, accepting the invitation to the RSS event, surfaced. The party had said images of the former president at the RSS headquarters had anguished millions of party workers and those who believe in pluralism and diversity of the Indian republic.
But later, the Congress was all appreciation after Mukherjee in his speech emphasised that the soul of India is pluralism, tolerance and inclusion. Then the Congress hailed Mukherjee for showing the “Mirror of Truth” to the RSS.
In his speech, Mukherjee had warned that any attempt to define India through “religion, hatred, dogmas and intolerance” will dilute our existence and said public discourses must be freed of all forms of violence.
Speaking before Mukherjee at the event, Bhagwat had said despite differences in opinion, Indians must “come together for a common goal” while keeping the country’s “diversity intact”. “Diversity is our hallmark. Differences of opinion is natural but it has a certain limit. We must come together for a common goal while keeping our diversity intact. Diversity is beautiful but it has to lead us to unity at the end,” he had said.
Mukherjee’s message to hundreds of ‘pracharaks’ and top-brass of the RSS, which is often described as a Hindu right-wing organisation, was described as a ‘mirror of truth to the RSS‘ by the Congress, whose several leaders had earlier been critical of his decision to attend the event at the Sangh headquarters in Nagpur.
However, there remained differences of opinion within the party over Mukherjee’s speech. Speaking to NDTV, Congress leader Manish Tiwari had condemned the former President for addressing the RSS event saying, “Pranab Mukherjee owes an explanation to the country more than the Congress as to what made him change his heart.”
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury had said the former President should have reminded the RSS of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination, “In the “history capsule” delivered by Pranab Mukherjee at the RSS headquarters, the absence of Mahatma Gandhi and his assassination speaks volumes. He would have done well to remind the RSS of its own history – banned thrice by Congress governments, 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.”
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