Former president Pranab Mukherjee, slated to address Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) cadres on Thursday, landed in Nagpur on Wednesday evening but didn’t offer tributes at the memorial of RSS founder Keshav Baliram Hedgewar located there.
However, it also transpired that not just several leaders in the Congress, but also Mukherjee’s daughter Sharmistha had opposed his visiting the RSS headquarters.
The two, according to sources, had a row when Mukherjee had accepted the invite from RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat some weeks back. But this came out in the public domain when sections of the media reported on Wednesday evening that Sharmistha, the chief of the women’s wing of the Delhi unit of the Congress party, could be the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate from West Bengal’s Malda Lok Sabha seat in 2019. The media reports attributed the information to BJP sources.
Sources in Mukherjee’s office denied these reports. They said Mukherjee has had “no political discussions” with RSS-BJP. An upset Sharmishtha, who is currently on vacation, took to Twitter where she not only denied the news but told her father that she had forewarned him about this.
“I joined politics
because I believe in the Congress party. I would rather leave politics
than leave Congress,” she said. But that wasn’t all.
In her second tweet, where she also tagged her father, Sharmistha said: “Hope .@CitiznMukherjee now realises from todays’ incident, how BJP dirty tricks department operates. Even the RSS wouldn’t believe that you are going to endorse its views in your speech. But the speech will be forgotten, visuals will remain and those will be circulated with fake statements.”
In a third tweet, she said: ".@CitiznMukherjee by going to Nagpur, you are giving BJP/RSS full handle to plant false stories, spread false rumours like today and making it somewhat believable. And this is just the beginning!"
The former president had already conveyed to the RSS leadership that he, unlike other chief guests at such events, will not offer floral tributes at Hedgewar’s memorial.
The RSS welcomed Mukherjee’s visit, and said it should be an example to the Congress and others who pursue politics