In a U-turn, Congress leaders praise Pranab Mukherjee

The Asian Age.

India, All India

Sharmistha clarifies outburst, says theirs was a ‘democratic, argumentative family’.

Former President Pranab Mukherjee (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: Most of the Congress leaders who had questioned former President Pranab Mukherjee’s decision to attend the RSS event fell over each other on Friday to heap praises on him. Mr Mukherjee’s daughter, while clarifying her outburst on social media, maintained that theirs was a “democratic, argumentative family” and she had no problem expressing differences with her father. As for the Congress leaders, former finance minister P. Chidambaram, who had observed that he would “not have accepted the RSS invitation”, on Friday tweeted, “Happy that Mr Pranab Mukherjee told the RSS what is right about Congress’ ideology. It was his way of saying what is wrong about RSS’ ideology.”

Senior leader of the party Abhishek Manu Singhvi also praised Mr Mukherjee for his address in Nagpur.

Meanwhile Congress leader Anand Sharma, who a few hours before the event on Thursday claimed that his images at the RSS headquarters had anguished those who believe in pluralism and diversity of India, took a sharp U-turn. “Pranam Pranab da, you have emerged proud and taller from Nagpur. There was never any doubt about your strength of character, moral courage, conviction and commitment to uphold the secular constitutional democracy,” he tweeted.

However, former Union minister Manish Tewari took a different line and asked Mr Mukherjee why he chose to go there and deliver “homilies on nationalism” after having cautioned young Congressmen like him against the Sangh.

Taking to Twitter, Mr Tewari asked several que-stions to the former President. “Your generation cautioned mine in training camp after training camp through 1980’s and 1990’s about the intent and designs of RSS. You were a part of the government that banned RSS in 1975 and then again in 1992. Don’t you think you should tell us what was evil about RSS then that has become virtuous now?” he asked.

Mr Tewari also drew parallels. He said after the 1938 Munich pact, the other countries had the false notion that they had bought peace with the Nazis, who overran Euro-pe. After the official stand of the Congress became clear with the press conference of party’s communications chief Randeep Singh Surjewala following Mr Mukherjee’s address, several Congress leaders have changed their stand on the issue.

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