Rahul Gandhi faces backlash for 5-star iftar party with RSS-returned Pranab Mukherjee, gets accused of ‘fooling’ Muslims

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Congress President Rahul Gandhi inviting former President of India and veteran party leader Pranab Mukherjee as a top guest at his 5-star Iftar party has kicked up a new controversy with many concluding that the lines had finally been blurred between the RSS and the Congress.

Rahul Gandhi
Photo: Indian National Congress

There were speculations on whether Gandhi will have Mukherjee as his guest for a function symblosing a key religious ritual for Muslims after the latter’s decision to be the chief guest at the RSS event last week. While in Nagpur, Mukherjee had called the founder of the RSS, Kehsav Baliram Hedgewar, as ‘the great son of mother India.’

Mukherjee had written in the visitor’s book, “Today I came here to pay my respect and homage to a great son of Mother India.”

There has always been a suspicion that many Congress leaders secretly owed their allegiance to the RSS, which has never hidden its intention to establish a Hindu rajya in India. One of its leading early founders had even likened Muslims to ‘snakes.’

It was in this context that Rahul’s decision to felicitate Mukherjee came as his approval of the former president’s views on Hegdewar. The photos of Rahul’s intese conversation with Mukherjee were widely shared on social media. The Congress president, for his part, wrote, “Good food, friendly faces and great conversation make for a memorable Iftar! We were honoured to have two former Presidents, Pranab Da & Smt Pratibha Patil ji join us, along with leaders from different political parties, the media, diplomats and many old & new friends.”

Rahul’s decision to have Mukherjee as a chief guest did not go down well with many, some even likening it to an insult of Muslims and their religious tradition by the Congress party. Journalist Asad Ashraf wrote, “From Nagpur to @RahulGandhi Iftar Party ! You think RSS is confined to BJP alone ? PS : Iftar without rozedars, no to Muslim representation in Iftar gatherings as well.” Another user Surinder Gupta wrote, “the first ever iftar party in world where host @RahulGandhi and the guests are non Muslim. Is not insult to Muslims?” Another user Shashibala Rai wrote, “Iftaar hi-fi five star party thrown by Rahul Gandhi was huge gathering of non Rozedars honestly no Rozedars !It was a political gimmick an insult to Islam and befooling muslims senti ment.”

Rahul and the Congress have long been accused of adopting soft Hindutva to counter the phenomenal rise of the BJP, a party, which has built its constituencies targeting Hindu voters. UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi had even lamented that the BJP had managed to convince voters that the Congress was a pro-Muslim party.

Former Congress prime minister PV Nrasimha Rao was condemned for his alleged links to the RSS when he presided over the demolition of the Babri Mosque in 1992. Rahul’s father and former prime minister Rajeev Gandhi was responsible for the opening of the Babri Masjid doors for Hindu Puja (prayers).

Rahul’s detractors too slammed him for his ‘Iftar party’ calling it an appeasement exercise to secure Muslim votes. Vikas Saxena, who identifies himself as a lawyer, wrote, “It’s alarming & shameful 4 Hindus who can’t see n open appeasement in Iftar by Rahul whereas constitution, which Opposition weeps 4, strictly provides 4 no discrimination on d basis of Religion etc. Does he observe any such pleasing gesture 2Hindus on Nav Ratri, Sawan, Holi, Diwali. (sic)”

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