A day before former President Pranab Mukherjee addresses a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) event at its headquarters in Nagpur, his daughter and Congress leader Sharmistha Mukherjee took to Twitter to warn him of Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) “dirty tricks department” on Wednesday.
She wrote that the veteran leader’s decision had given the BJP and its ideological parent, RSS, “full handle” to plant rumours and false stories. She also cautioned her father that his speech will be “will be forgotten”, but the visuals “will be circulated with fake statements”.
Hope @CitiznMukherjee now realises from todays’ incident, how BJP dirty tricks dept operates. Even RSS wouldn’t believe that u r going 2 endorse its views in ur speech. But the speech will be forgotten, visuals will remain & those will be circulated with fake statements. 1/2
Sharmistha, who unsuccessfully contested the 2015 Delhi assembly election on a Congress ticket, turned to Twitter to dispel rumours that she may join the BJP. She said she would rather quit politics than join the BJP.
“Hope @CitiznMukherjee now realises from today’s incident, how BJP dirty tricks dept operates. Even RSS wouldn’t believe that u r going 2 endorse its views in ur speech. But the speech will be forgotten, visuals will remain & those will be circulated with fake statements,” wrote Sharmishta on Twitter, referring to Mukherjee’s personal twitter handle.
“By going 2 Nagpur, u r giving BJP/RSS full handle 2 plant false stories, spread [false] rumours as 2day & making it somewhat believable. And this is just d beginning!” she said in a second tweet.
“People who are opposing Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to RSS program are in fact representing the ideology of intolerance. In no way it is going to help the democratic dialogue in the country,” BJP national general secretary P Muralidhar Rao tweeted hours before Sharmishta’s remarks.
Mukherjee’s surprise move to address the RSS event triggered a controversy with several Opposition leaders appealing to him to reconsider for the sake of secularism. But the former president has said that people should wait to hear what he has to say, while his associates have said he will send a strong message of peace and harmony.
The RSS has defended the decision to call Mukherjee, saying the Sangh has had a history of engaging with and inviting people with diverse views, citing examples of Mahatma Gandhi and BR Ambedkar attending RSS?events.
Some Congress leaders have indicated they are okay with Mukherjee’s decision. Their stand is that Mukherjee is a private citizen and free to go where he wants.