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Questioned Over Accepting RSS Invite, Pranab Mukherjee’s Firm Response

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New Delhi:  Former President Pranab Mukherjee — whose decision to accept an invitation to a function of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has made a section of the Congress uncomfortable – has given an enigmatic response on the matter.

“Whatever I have to say, I will say in Nagpur. I have received several letters, requests and phone calls, but I haven’t responded to anyone yet,” Mr Mukherjee was quoted as saying by Bengali newspaper Anandabazar Patrika.

The 82-year-old former President has been repeatedly asked to reconsider his decision by various leaders of the Congress — the party he was part of for decades till he became the president in 2012. Pointing to what they call the divisive nature of the RSS, ideological mentor of the ruling BJP, a few Congress leaders have betrayed their discomfort about the optics of the issue.

Among them was Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala, who admitted to being “concerned and surprised” by the decision

Others maintained that it was more important to see what Mr Mukherjee had to tell the RSS volunteers at the June 7 valedictory function of Sangh Shiksha Varg.

Last week, President Mukherjee even had some advice from former cabinet colleague P Chidambaram.

Pointing out that Mr Mukherjee has already accepted the invite, Mr Chidambaram said, “The more important thing to say is, ‘Sir you have accepted the invitation, please go there and tell them what is wrong with their ideology’.”

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