- Happiness of people is the happiness of ruler, Pranab Mukherjee said
- Pranab Mukherjee has "shown 'Mirror of Truth' to RSS": Congress
- Congress leaders had earlier disapproved of him going for RSS meet
At a press conference held minutes after Mr Mukherjee's address at the RSS headquarters in Nagpur, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said he has reminded the BJP's ideological mentor about "India's pluralism, tolerance, secularism and inclusiveness as an article of faith and soul of the country".
Over the last week, several Congress leaders, including party strategist Ahmed Patel and Mr Mukherjee's daughter Sharmistha Mukherjee, served barbed comments at the former President. Their contention -- the optics of his appearance at the RSS headquarters in Nagpur will hand a powerful political weapon to the BJP to denigrate the Congress.
.@CitiznMukherjee By going 2 Nagpur, u r giving BJP/RSS full handle 2 plant false stories, spread falls rumours as 2day & making it somewhat believable. And this is just d beginning! 2/2— Sharmistha Mukherjee (@Sharmistha_GK) June 6, 2018
Tagging Sharmistha Mukherjee's tweet, Ahmed Patel tweeted:
I did not expect this from Pranab da ! https://t.co/VBqXZ8x7SE— Ahmed Patel (@ahmedpatel) June 6, 2018
And today, after Mr Mukherjee's visit to the RSS headquarters, Anand Sharma, another Congress leader who had tried to dissuade Mr Mukherjee from the visit, tweeted: "Images of Pranab Da, veteran leader and ideologue at RSS Headquarters have anguished millions of Congress workers."
Congress' Manish Tiwari tweeted:
THIS COUPLET APPLIES APTLY TO @CitiznMukherjee HOWSOEVER WISE, WHO,IN JOY, FORGETS GOD,IN RAGE HAS NO FEAR OF THE ALL MIGHTY— Manish Tewari (@ManishTewari) June 7, 2018
The 82-year-old former president, who has refused to answer questions, saying he would say his piece only at the event, delivered a strong message this evening. In a half-hour speech, he traced the course of history to trace and define India's democracy and plurality and called it a "sacred trust".
He highlighted the need of freeing public discourse from all forms of violence and reminded the government about Rajdharma -- quoting liberally from scriptures, poetry, Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, and the treatises of Chanakya, philosopher and advisor of Chandragupta Maurya, who was dubbed the greatest political mind of ancient India.
Anand Sharma told reporters, "We did not see the tricolour go up or the national anthem being sung at the RSS headquarters. There was never any doubt of Pranab Mukherjee's ability to articulate and his conviction, but for dialogue the other side must listen and change, hope RSS does it".
The RSS and various leaders of the BJP have maintained that Mukherjee's acceptance of the RSS invite was an endorsement of the need for dialogue. The Congress leaders' concern was evidence of small-mindedness.