After receiving much criticism by his party workers and also his own daughter, former Indian president and Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee attended the RSS event in Nagpur as the chief guest. The mega event is conducted by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh(RSS) at their headquarter in Nagpur.
Pranab Mukherjee in his opening statement said that, "I am here amongst you to share my understanding with you of the concepts of nation, nationalism and patriotism in the context of India," addressing the RSS workers.
In his speech Ex-President said that India's national identity has emerged after confluence, assimilation and coexistence in order to 'accept and respect pluralism'. He emphasised that the nation's strength is because of its 'multiplicity in culture, faith and language' and this is what makes India special.
Mukherjee and Mohan Bhagwat, the sarsanghchalak of the RSS, addressed to over 700 cadres who were a part of the camp conducted by the RSS who aspire become a full time RSS worker.
The invitation by the RSS had raised much speculations among all the Congress leaders who refused the former president to not attend the event as it might be against the party workers. Notwithstanding the comments of his fellow congressmen, Dr.Mukherjee chose to attend the RSS' 'Tritiya Varsh Varg' programme.
Disgruntled by her father's decision, Mukherjee's daughter and Congress leader, Sharmistha tweeted asking him to refrain from going stating that 'his speech will be forgotten but visuals will be circulated with fake statements'.
A former RSS spokesperson and senior Sangh ideologue, M.G. Vaidya, in an interview said that "The Congress doesn't understand that RSS is not BJP". He further added that the RSS is any organisation of the entire society, not an organisation within the society. "The RSS only advises (BJP) when asked for. It doesn't interfere."
However, Mukherjee's message was loud and clear. Even after receiving much distrust from his own party he did not hesitate to attend the RSS programme. He proved to be an epitome of a self independent man.