NAGPUR: Former President Pranab Mukherjee arrived here today to attend tomorrow an RSS event which has generated a lot of interest and controversy over the last few days.
Mukherjee, who had been in the Congress for most of his political career and had been slamming the RSS, will attend the valedictory function of the 'Sangh Shiksha Varg' here, the headquarters of the Sangh fountainhead.
Mukherjee accepting the invite from the RSS has generated a lot of interest as well as controversy, with Congress leaders urging him not to attend the event in the "interest of secularism".
Despite the reservations expressed by the Congress leaders, Mukherjee is going ahead to attend the event.
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram has said that since Mukherjee has accepted the invitation, he should go and tell the RSS "what is wrong" in their ideology.
Ramesh Chennithala, a senior Congress leader from Kerala, last week sent a letter to Mukherjee, requesting him to refrain from attending the event.
Chennithala, also leader of the opposition in Kerala assembly, had said Mukherjee's decision had come as a "rude shock" to the secular minds of the country.
"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," said Chennithala in his letter.
West Bengal Congress chief Adhir Chowdhury and senior Congress leader V Hanumantha Rao too had urged Mukherjee not to attend the event.
"I am really surprised to hear about the decision of Pranab Mukherjee to attend RSS's programme in Nagpur.
Just like any other Congressman, I am really astonished to hear about it," said Chowdhury.
"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 criticized RSS as a communal and a divisive organization," he said.
Hanumantha Rao, the AICC Secretary and former Rajya Sabha member, said the former president should withdraw his decision" in the interest of secularism".
Mukherjee, who had held the highest post of President, should not attend the meeting of RSS as it is a "communal" organisation, Rao had added.
Veteran Congressman CK Jaffer Sharief also had sent a letter to Mukherjee, expressing surprise over the move and said he, like other secular people, was "stunned" to hear about his attending the RSS function.