New Delhi, June 3: Breaking his silence on accepting an invitation to attend an RSS event at its Nagpur headquarters on June 7, former President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday said whatever he has to say, he will say in Nagpur only.
“Whatever I have to say, I will say in Nagpur. I have received several letters, requests and phone calls, but I haven’t responded to anyone yet,” Mukherjee was quoted as saying by Bengali newspaper Anandabazar Patrika.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has invited Mukherjee to be the chief guest at the concluding function of “Tritiya Varsh Varg” or third-year course and address the Swayamsevaks’ on June 7.
The RSS invite to Mukherjee sparked off a controversy, as the Congress leaders expressed unhappiness over his acceptance, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Sangh saw nothing wrong in it.
Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh also wrote to Mukherjee requesting him not to attend the RSS event.
Earlier, senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram had urged him to take the opportunity to tell the RSS what is wrong with their ideology.
“Now that he has accepted the invitation, there is no point in debating why he accepted it.
“The more important thing to say is, Sir you have accepted invitation, please go there and tell them what is wrong with their ideology,” the former Union Minister had said.
Another former Union Minister C.K. Jaffer Sharief in a letter to Mukherjee had urged him to reconsider his decision and avoid attending the event in the interest of secularism.
Expressing surprise over former President Pranab Mukherjee’s decision to attend an RSS event, West Bengal Congress chief Adhir Chowdhury had said he was unable to relate the visit with Mukherjee’s previous comments against the Sangh Parivar and other Hindutva forces.
“My question is does he (Mukherjee) think his previous comments against RSS were wrong? We remember how Pranab Mukherjee as a senior leader of the Congress had come down heavily on RSS as a communal and a divisive organisation,” he had said.
“I am surprised to hear about Pranab Mukherjee’s decision to attend RSS’s function in Nagpur. Just like any other Congressman, I am astonished too,” Chowdhury, who has shared a long association with Mukherjee, said.