Soon after Mr Mukherjee’s speech, the Congress was quick to make amends.
New Delhi: After initially expressing disapproval and anguish, the Congress did a complete volte-face by praising the address of senior party leader and former President Pranab Mukherjee at an RSS event in Nagpur on Thursday.
After Mr Mukherjee’s address, Congress communications chief Randeep Singh Surjewala praised the former President saying that he has “shown the mirror of truth to the RSS at RSS headquarters in Nagpur by reminding them of India’s pluralism, tolerance, secularism and inclusiveness as an article of faith and soul of the country”.
Questioning the RSS, Mr Surjewala said, “Let the RSS and the BJP publicly commit today to change its character, orientation, thought process and path and accept the sagacious advise of their guest, Pranab Mukherjee. We await a reply.”
Mr Surjewala asked the RSS whether it would promises to follow “constitutional patriotism as the guiding articles of India’s nationalism, as advocated by Pranab Mukherjee?”
Soon after Mr Mukherjee’s speech, the Congress was quick to make amends after realising that some of the Congress leaders, including Ahmed Patel, were wrong in criticising the former President for accepting the invitation to deliver the address at an event to mark the conclusion of a three-year training camp for swayamsevaks in Nagpur.
Attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr Surjewala said that Mr Mukherjee also reminded the government of following “rajdharma”, founded upon our diversity, non-violence, multiculturalism and assimilation of ideas.
Quoting from Mr Mukh-erjee’s speech Mr Surjew-ala added, “Happiness of people is the happiness of ruler, their welfare is his welfare.”
Pointing towards the unchecked exercise of authority and attack on institutions in the garb of a self-professed definition of “pseudo nationalism”, he reminded the RSS as also the Prime Minister that “Indian nationalism is Constitutional patriotism.”
Earlier in the day angu-ish was written all over Congress office as one of its tallest leader, former President Mukherjee, flanked by Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat watched the RSS dhwaj (flag) go up and the RSS band taking out a march past.