BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav tweeted his appreciation of former president Pranab Mukherjee’s speech at an RSS event calling it ‘great’.
“Great address by Dr Pranab Mukharjee at Nagpur. His address and Dr Bhagwat’s address are in a way complementary to each other. Nation First is the core message of both,” Madhav tweeted.
The mood in the Congress camp, however, kept changing. It started with stunned silence over the former president’s decision to attend the event, changed into ‘anguish’ from a few leaders, including Mukherjee’s daughter, and finally came the sigh of relief after Mukherjee had delivered a sharp speech.
In what many analysts saw as a strong message to the ideological parent of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Mukherjee said, “the soul of India resides in pluralism and tolerance.”
In his 35-minute speech delivered in English, Mukherjee said, “Secularism and inclusion is a matter of faith for us. India’s nationhood is not one language, one religion, one nation.”
Congress leaders started the day by expressing anguish over the former president’s presence at the RSS headquarters.
Ahmed Patel in a tweet that many believe was at the behest of Sonia Gandhi wrote: “Didn’t expect this from Pranab Da.”
This came hours after Congress leader and Mukherjee’s daughter Sharmistha Mukherjee had warned him against attending the function, saying his speech would be forgotten but the visuals will remain and be misused by the BJP’s ‘dirty tricks department’.
Another senior Congress leader Anand Sharma also tweeted his ‘anguish’ saying, “The images of Pranab Da, veteran leader and ideologue at RSS Headquarters have anguished millions of Congress workers and all those who believed in pluralism, diversity and the foundational values of the Indian Republic.”