Kannur/Kozhikode: KPCC chief K Sudhakaran on Monday said India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was a great leader who had shown his “magnanimity” to include RSS leader Shyama Prasad Mukherjee in his Cabinet, drawing sharp criticism from key Congress partner Muslim League (IUML) and the ruling CPI(M).
Sudhakaran made the remarks while addressing a Children’s Day programme organised by the Kannur DCC to celebrate the birth anniversary of Nehru, days after his revelation that he had given protection to RSS shakhas decades ago, irking the Muslim League.
“The generous gesture he (Nehru) made to include Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, a RSS leader in his cabinet; his magnanimity to align with communal fascism…the leader who showed the nation the great values of democracy.
“We have to learn a lot from Nehru, we have to understand a lot from him, one has to read and learn about him to know about his mind,” the KPCC chief said.
Sudhakaran also said Nehru gave the responsibility of making the Constitution to Dr B R Ambedkar, who was not a Congress leader.
Nehru also made Ambedkar the Law Minister in his government. Mukherjee was inducted as a Minister for Industry and Supply by Nehru in the interim government he had formed after independence. Mukherjee quit the government in 1951 and founded Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the political wing of RSS. He was the founder-president of Jana Sangh, considered to be the earlier avatar of the BJP.
While senior IUML leader M K Muneer criticised Sudhakaran for his remarks, accusing him of trying to “provoke many and please the fascists”, the ruling CPI(M) and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, in separate statements, slammed the KPCC chief, alleging he was trying to take the Congress in the tent of the Sangh Parivar. “If Sudhakaran has made such remarks, it is certain that he has not read history completely,” Muneer told reporters in Kozhikode.
He said Nehru’s first election victory was against the fascist forces like Hindu Maha Sabha.
Muneer, who had also served as minister in the previous Congress-led UDF governments, said a meeting of IUML leadership will be held on November 16 and the issues being raised by Sudhakaran may also be discussed.
Irked by Sudhakaran’s remarks, the IUML leader also claimed that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who is participating in the Bharat Jodo Yatra, has made it clear that those Congressmen who have pro-RSS thinking should leave the party.
Accusing the KPCC chief of trying to “whitewash” the RSS that too on Children’s Day when the country remembers Jawaharlal Nehru, Vijayan sought to know why is he taking such efforts.
Hailing Nehru as a true secular leader, the Marxist veteran said Nehru, in a letter sent to the Chief Ministers on December 7, 1947 had explained the nature of the danger posed by the RSS. In another letter, he had warned against falling for claims that the RSS was not a political organisation, he said.
He alleged that the Congress always had had communalists and RSS supporters like that of Sudhakaran’s mindset.
Vijayan claimed that Mukherjee was made a minister, succumbing to pressure exerted by such people in the Congress.
By comparing Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and Dr Ambedkar, Sudhakaran not only distorted history but also insulted Dr Ambdekar, the CM said.
In a statement, the CPI(M) state secretariat urged the Congress’s national leadership and the UDF to clarify their stand on Sudhakaran’s remarks.
“The other day he had also openly said that he had given protection to the RSS shakhas. Instead of correcting such pro-RSS positions, Sudhakaran again tries to justify his position by portraying even Jawaharlal Nehru as a leader who allied with communal fascist forces”, the CPI(M) alleged.
Earlier in the day, Muslim League expressed reservations regarding Sudhakaran’s revelation that he had given “protection” to RSS shakhas decades ago.
Muneer said that in view of the differing opinions within the Congress on various issues concerning the Left front, a high-level meeting of UDF should be held to discuss such matters and then come out with a joint stand.
Muneer said his party expects the Congress would have an internal discussion on what Sudhakaran said and the reasons given by him for his actions.
“Therefore, any action to be taken in relation to that (Sudhakaran’s statement) is by the Congress,” Muneer said.
He also made it clear that there was “no doubt” that “there should be no move to legitimise the RSS by words or actions”.
Sudhakaran recently courted controversy by saying that when he was part of the Congress (Organisation) decades ago, he had sent his men to “give protection” to some RSS shakhas in the state.
While speaking at a function in Kannur, he had said that the CPI(M) had tried to destroy the shakhas when it had been launched in places like Edakkad, Thottada and Kizhunna here and he had sent people to “protect” it from being destroyed by the Left cadres.
Congress (Organisation) came into being after the 1969 split of the Congress party. The Congress(O) later merged with the Janata Party.
Sudhakaran had also clarified that his actions back then were not because of any affiliation towards right wing outfits, but guided by his belief that all parties, including the RSS, have the right to function in a democratic country.