The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has invited former President Pranab Mukherjee to address its cadres in its headquarters in Nagpur on June 7 at the Sangh Shiksha Varg, a third-year training camp of RSS workers. The former President has accepted the invitation and he will be addressing the RSS cadres.
This has raised the heckles of several senior Congress leaders who have been alleging RSS to be a "divisive" organisation. One of the Congress leaders, former Railway Minister C K Jaffer Sharief has sent a letter to Mukherjee requesting him to reconsider his decision.
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Pranab Mukherjee is one of the seniormost leaders of Congress, highly experienced and knowledgeable, and a known "troubleshooter" during the UPA regime. I do not find anything objectionable in the former President attending an RSS event.
I would like to remind senior Congress leaders about a few facts relating to RSS. During the 1962 Sino-Indian war, RSS workers played an exemplary role in civil defence, and the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru allowed RSS to send a special contingent to take part in the 1963 Republic Day parade on Rajpath in Delhi. Mahatma Gandhi himself visited an RSS camp at Wardha in 1934 and praised its discipline, and former PM Indira Gandhi had praised the relief activities undertaken by RSS among refugees from erstwhile East Pakistan in 1971.
Rashtriya Janata Dal leader and Lalu Prasad's son Tejashwi has also raised objections over Mukherjee's Nagpur visit. Tejashwi is young and not experienced. He probably does not know that Socialist party founder Ram Manohar Lohia had praised the RSS, and the late Jayaprakash Narayan had attended an RSS event and addressed its workers. If former President Mukherjee attends the RSS camp, there is nothing wrong in it. If people having different ideologies meet , express their opinions and listen to the views of others, it is a good sign for democracy.
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