Why Pranab accepted RSS invitation?

Former President Pranab Mukherjee. (File Photo)

Why Pranab Mukherjee has done this after spending nearly the entire life in Congress. Why is he going as chief guest to training meet of RSS, considered as born enemy of the Congress. What does he wants to achieve in this late stage of his life by giving up the values he had believed in. These were the questions being debated since former President Pranab Mukherjee agreed to attend the RSS meet on June 7. His political career has almost come to an end. People are asking why he is taking this trouble now.

Majority of Congress leaders feel that Pranab Mukherjee should not have accepted the RSS invitation. As someone who has six-decades-long political career, why has he done this? This is the question being asked majority of people. The answer lies in the question itself. This experience led him that way. During Indira Gandhi’s regime, this seasoned politician had proved his political acumen. Pranab, who began his political career in 1965 became a key minister and a close confidante of Indira Gandhi at the age of 40. In 1980, Pranab made former prime minister Manmohan Singh the governor of Reserve Bank of India. By ensuring prompt repayment of loans to the International Monetary Fund, he won the appreciation of Indira Gandhi. In fact the first step for economic reforms was taken then. Pranab felt that he is more capable for the post of prime minister than Rajiv Gandhi and thus problems started for him. In 1986, he quit Congress to float Samajwadi Congress. Within three years, he merged this party with parent organization Congress. He held key portfolios like foreign affairs, defence and finance. Except the post of party president, he held almost all positions in the Congress Working Committee. He came to be known as man of all seasons and played a key role in resolving all the crises in the party. He not only served on several government committees including the one on Telangana but also represented in almost all group of ministers committees. He headed many committees. He is not a politician who takes a decision without thinking its pros and cons. That’s why he had his own calculations while accepting the invitation of RSS.

Crores of people can politically oppose RSS ideology. However, the number of its supporters are double than this. Parties may differ but that’s mere politics. Whether somebody likes it or not, RSS is an integral part of mainstream. It’s an ideal fountainhead with 54,000 units in 31,000 places. It’s a gigantic organization which has over 90 affiliated associations like ABVP, VHP and BMS and running over 1.70 lakh social and educational institutions. From country’s ruler prime minister to two third central ministers all came from RSS. Chief ministers of all BJP ruled states have their roots in RSS. President and vice president had association with RSS. Can all of them be kept away from this organization? RSS which has lakhs of parcharaks and crores of supporters has spread to remote places. The volunteers of this organization go to the field in times of floods, natural calamities and wars. Other parties may oppose RSS on the ground of ideologies. These parties have the freedom to express their opinion in a democracy. However, hatred towards the organization means distancing half of the country’s population. This is also amounts to wasting precious time. Political parties who profess unity in diversity are refusing to accept this truth and this is leading to further expansion of RSS ideology in the country.

There can’t be untouchability in politics. The real policy is to take everybody along. Socially taking everybody with you is as important as political struggles with ideologies. There should be no room in politics for socially alienating somebody.  The goal of social and political activists should be to adjust with those having unilateral thinking. With this thinking, leaders like Lok Nayak Jaiprakash Narayan, and Indira Gandhi attended RSS meetings. Pranab might have accepted Nagpur invitation to make use of his reputation and social space to convey his message. It is foolish to question the decision of Pranab, who taught politics to Sonia Gandhi and who was advisor to then prime minister Indira Gandhi, who was known as iron lady. He may not have expected this criticism despite his wide experience. It is important to understand the message rather than resorting to making provocative statements. It is important to always maintain healthy political space. Forgetting politics to get swayed away by emotions will only benefit the rival.

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