Congress leader P Chidambaram on Wednesday said that Pranab Mukherjee should tell the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh what is wrong with their ideology when he addresses an event at the organisation’s headquarters in Nagpur on June 7. “Now that he has accepted an invitation, there is no point debating why he did so,” said Chidambaram. “The more important thing to say is, sir you have accepted the invitation, please go there and tell them what is wrong with their ideology.”

While the Congress has not officially commented on Mukherjee’s decision, senior leaders have expressed their reservations. Former Railways Minister CK Jaffer Sharief said he failed to understand the “compelling reasons” behind Mukherjee’s decision.

Sharief wrote a letter to the former president and asked him the rationale behind the decision. “It shocked us so we wrote, we asked him as to what prompted him, why is he suddenly going,” he said, according to NDTV. “We thought he was maintaining the ‘no-allegiance’ stance to any party, as it is after one becomes president.”

Another Congress leader, who did not want to be identified, told The Times of India that “Mukherjee’s very presence at the RSS camp could prove to be bad optics for Congress. “A secular patriarch visiting the RSS headquarters would be the ultimate approval for the body that is still considered ‘untouchable’ by the Congress, and whom Rahul Gandhi includes in every attack he launches on Modi,” he said.

Speaking for the Bharatiya Janata Party, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said Mukherjee’s decision was a “good start”. “Political untouchability is not good,” he added.