NEW DELHI: There is unease within the Congress over reports that former president Pranab Mukherjee will attend an RSS event in Nagpur on June 7. Mukherjee, who was groomed by former prime minister Indira Gandhi, has remained a Congressman to the core and was even described as his “political guru” by Rahul Gandhi.
Sources said the reports, coming at a time when Rahul is relentlessly attacking the BJP and the RSS, and saying that the 2019 national elections will primarily be a battle between two opposite ideologies and ideas of India, had created a buzz in the party circles. They also came as a surprise to many in the Congress, who wondered why there was no confirmation from the invitee’s office yet.
“The RSS is saying they have invited Mukherjee and he has accepted the invite. But we haven’t heard of any confirmation from the former president’s office,” said a senior Congress leader.
The Congress, too, chose to play safe over the controversy, saying that it would not like to comment now and would rather like to wait till the event was over.
“The event has not happened. I have also come to know about it from media reports and I am waiting for further details. At present, I have no comments to offer till the event takes place,” Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan said, adding that any further query over the issue must be addressed to the former president himself.
According to former Lok Sabha member Sandeep Dikshit, Mukherjee was always critical of and had a low opinion about the organisation.
“The RSS should make clear if they approve of Mukherjee’s views now,” said Dikshit.
While what Mukherjee does with the RSS invite remains to be seen, sources said the former president was a wily politician.
“He was always a difficult man… the only person who understood him well was Indira Gandhi,” a senior Congress leader said, adding that he was still trying to read between the lines.
When asked about the likely fallout of Mukherjee attending the RSS event, he said in a lighter vein that if not anything else, the former president would at least get some publicity.