Congress leader Sharmistha Mukherjee rebuked her father, former President Pranab Mukherjee, again on Friday for attending an RSS event in Nagpur the previous day. She said the “dirty tricks department” of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh had got active after her father’s speech on Thursday – just as she had warned.
Ahead of Mukherjee’s speech at the RSS headquarters in Nagpur, his daughter had criticised him, saying his speech at the event may not make a lasting impression, but the visuals will – in an apparent reference to the possible misuse of the visuals on social media.
On Friday, she retweeted a post that showed Mukherjee’s picture edited to depict him as taking an RSS salute with other leaders of the organisation. The morphed photo also shows the former president with a black cap on his head. She said: “See, this is exactly what I was fearing [and] warned my father about. Not even few hours have passed, but BJP/RSS dirty tricks dept [department] is at work in full swing!”
Sharmistha Mukherjee heads the Mahila Congress and the media department of the Delhi Congress.
She also said that hers was a “democratic, argumentative family” and so she could express differences in opinion with her father even in public. It was in apparent response to Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy’s reported comments backing her.
The veteran Congressman’s decision to attend the event had caused consternation in his party, with senior leader Ahmed Patel on Wednesday tweeting his displeasure at the former president’s decision. Some party leaders had earlier downplayed Mukherjee’s decision, while leaders such as Jairam Ramesh, Ramesh Chennithala and CK Jaffer Sharief had urged him to reconsider his decision.
After the speech, however, the Congress said Mukherjee had shown the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh the “mirror of truth” with his speech.
P Chidambaram said he was happy that Mukherjee had told the RSS what is right about the Congress’ ideology. He had earlier asked Mukherjee to tell the RSS what is wrong with their ideology.
Congress leader Anand Sharma told ANI: “We did not see the tricolour go up or the national anthem being sung at the RSS headquarters. There was never any doubt of Pranab Mukherjee’s ability to articulate and his conviction, but for a dialogue, the other side must listen and change. Hope RSS does it.”
Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury criticised Mukherjee for not bringing up the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi from his speech.