New Delhi: Senior Congress leader and former union minister, P Chidambaram said on Wednesday that former president Pranab Mukherjee should tell the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as to what was wrong with their ideology.
"Now that he has accepted invitation there is no point debating why he accepted it. The more important thing to say is, sir you have accepted the invitation, please go there and tell them what is wrong with their ideology," he was quoted as saying by ANI.
The RSS has invited Mukherjee to address newly recruited sangh workers on June 7 in Nagpur. Mukherjee has given his consent to participate in the programme, RSS' Akhil Bhartiya Prachar Pramukh Arun Kumar had told PTI. Mukherjee will be the chief guest at the valedictory session of the 'Tritiya Varsh Varg' or the Third Year Course organised by the RSS.
"We have invited the former President of India and it is his greatness that he has given his consent for participating in the programme," Kumar had said. Earlier in 2018, Mukherjee had invited top sangh leaders at the launch of the Pranab Mukherjee Foundation. On the other hand, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had also called on Mukherjee during the last days of his tenure as president.
Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala on Wednesday sent a letter to Mukherjee requesting him to refrain from attending the RSS function. In the letter, he said Mukherjee's decision to attend the function had come as a "rude shock" to secular minds of the country. Chennithala, a leader of the opposition in Kerala Assembly, alleged that RSS has been trying to divide the country on religious lines and to run the incumbent government by remote control.
"Being one of the tallest leaders of the great Indian National Congress, which has been responsible for preserving the secular fabric of this country, your decision has invited unparalleled disgruntlement among the rank and file of the Congress party," the letter said. "As a person who has served as the first citizen of our country and the greatest ambassador of secularism, I request you to reconsider your decision to attend the RSS meet on June 7, 2018," it added, PTI reported.
Another Congress leader and West Bengal party chief Adhir Chowdhury on Wednesday expressed surprise over Mukherjee's decision to attend the RSS event. "My question is does he (Mukherjee) think his previous comments against RSS were wrong ... We still remember how Pranab Mukherjee, as a senior leader of the Congress, had criticised RSS as a communal and a divisive organisation," he said.
Congress leader V Hanumantha Rao too said on Wednesday that Mukherjee should withdraw his decision to attend an RSS event as chief guest "in the interest of secularism". The AICC secretary and former Rajya Sabha member said that Mukherjee has been held in high esteem by former PM Rajiv Gandhi, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress president Rahul. "Their (RSS) thinking is Hindutva. They are not secular. They want 'Hindu desh'. How can he (Mukherjee) go? In this country, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, everybody is there... So my request is he should rethink (his decision to attend the RSS meet) and he should not go," he said.
(With Agency inputs)