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Pranab Mukherjee Arrives in Nagpur to Rousing Reception by RSS

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Former President Pranab Mukherjee arrived in Nagpur to address the RSS cadre’s gathering on 6 June. Pranab will share the stage with Chief Operating Officer Mohan Bhagwat in the main event at the headquarters of the Union on Thursday. Pranab has been invited as the chief guest at the convocation ceremony organized for the volunteers.

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The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has invited former President Pranab Mukherjee to be the chief guest at the concluding function of “Tritiya Varsh Varg” or third-year course and address the swayamsevaks.

Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee is opposing the RSS program. In this regard, Assam Congress chief Ripin Bora also wrote letter to the President. In his letter, he mentioned three reasons why Pranab should not attend the RSS program. Another minister wrote in a letter that Pranab should re-evaluate his reasons for going to the program. The President is going to be in the presence of an organization that has not respected the national flag till date, he added.

Assam Congress President Ripun Bora wrote to former President Pranab Mukherjee, asking him to reconsider his decision to attend RSS conference. “The RSS never respects national flag, is propagating idea of one nation one religion, is responsible for growing of social and religious intolerance,” he wrote in a letter, as accessed by ANI.

The number of unhappy leaders account to more than 30 leaders of Congress as they have requested Pranab Mukherjee not to go to the program.

In connection to this event, the Joint General Secretary of RSS, Manmohan Vaidya, has written an article in The Indian Express and slammed the “intellectual intolerance” of people who have opposed the ex-President. He wrote that there is a need to understand this difference of views in the perspective of Indian and non-Indian (foreign) contemplation.

He wrote in his article, “Welcome to Nagpur, Pranab da” Vaidya mentioning how a political furore followed after the former president accepted the RSS invite to attend the event. He mentioned how the Congress had issues with Mukherjee attending the event, but there was no discomfort among the RSS for inviting a “Congress stalwart”. “There has been unseemly outrage amongst certain sections of the political class on former President Pranab Mukherjee’s acceptance of an invitation to be the chief guest for the concluding ceremony of the RSS’s Tritiya Varsh Training programme. But no swayamsevak has expressed reservations on a Congress stalwart being invited to an RSS platform. We need to understand the roots of the difference in the two responses,” wrote Vaidya, as published by The Indian Express.
He also mentioned the reason as to why RSS decided to have him on the platform and address their students. He stated that Mukherjee has spent a long time in public and the invitation was extended so that the Sangh workers may have the chance to listen to his “ideas on matters of social and national significance”, Vaidya wrote. “He will also get an opportunity to have a first-hand experience of the Sangh. Such an exchange of views and ideas is intrinsic to the Bharatiya concept of dialogue. Why, then, this undemocratic opposition to the exchange of ideas?” he asked.

Amid the brouhaha over former president and veteran Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee attending the RSS event, the grand old party’s P Chidambaram had also reacted to the controversy, saying that the former should go to the event and “tell them what is wrong with their ideology”.

Some people of ‘secular’ ideology have said that this visit of Pranab Mukherjee will increase the ‘acceptability’ in a way of RSS ideas.

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