Vice President Venkaiah Naidu on Friday praised the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, and said there was no reason for anyone to object to the right-wing organisation’s principles. Naidu’s comments follow criticism against former President Pranab Mukherjee’s decision to address the organisation’s workers at its headquarters in Nagpur on June 7.

Naidu spoke of his ties with the organisation, and said its principles focused on character development. “From my association with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, I can assure you that the RSS is all about self-discipline, self-respect, self-defence, self- reliance, social reform, social consciousness, social movement, selfless service, all guided by the philosophy of supremacy of the nation.”

Naidu was speaking during the Nanaji Memorial lecture in New Delhi. “I see no reason for anyone to have any objection with principles of RSS, which are aimed at character development based on core ancient Indian ethos and values which advocated the philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ meaning the world is one family,” Naidu said.

Pranab Mukherjee and the RSS

The Congress has downplayed Mukherjee’s decision to address RSS workers. “His speaking at any convocation is absolutely no indication of his beliefs nor of the content of what he is yet to say,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi had told The Times of India. “Judge him by what he says and what his established beliefs during 50 years of political life are.”

Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit had claimed that Mukherjee had often called the RSS anti-national and unpatriotic.

On Wednesday, former Finance Minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram said that Mukherjee should tell the RSS what is wrong with their ideology when he addresses the event.