The Congress said former President Pranab Mukherjee had shown the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh the “mirror of truth” with his speech at the Hindutva organisation’s headquarters in Nagpur on Thursday.

The former president warned the RSS cadre that intolerance would dilute India’s national identity and said the nation’s soul resides in pluralism.

All India Congress Committee communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala said that Mukherjee had reminded the RSS of India’s history. “He taught the RSS that India’s beauty lies in its tolerance for different ideas, religions and languages,” he said. “Is the RSS ready to listen?”

Surjewala asked the RSS and the Bharatiya Janata Party to accept Mukherjee’s advice and told them to publicly commit to changing their character, orientation and thought process. “It is time for [RSS chief] Mohan Bhagwat and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to answer,” he said.

Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma told ANI that there was never any doubt in Mukherjee’s ability to articulate and in his conviction. “But for dialogue the other side must listen and change, hope RSS does it.” Sharma had earlier tweeted that the former president’s presence at the RSS headquarters had anguished party workers and those who believe in “the foundational values” of the Indian Republic.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury criticised Mukherjee for not bringing up the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi from his speech. “In the ‘history capsule’ delivered by Pranab Mukherjee at the RSS headquarters, the absence of Mahatma Gandhi and his assassination speaks volumes,” Yechury tweeted.

Nathuram Godse, who assassinated Gandhi, had links to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.