Former veteran Congress leader CK Jaffer Sharief has backed RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat for the President post, saying nobody should doubt his patriotism just because he was from “one school of thought”.
“I personally believe nobody should find fault with Mohan Bhagwat’s name being considered as a choice for the presidentship of our country,” Sharief said in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday.
The 83-year-old leader exhorted all minorities, including Muslims, not to have “any fear or crisis of confidence” in Bhagwat’s name being considered for the post.
He said there were different schools of thought in India, which is “but natural for such a vast secular country”. While Bhagwat might belong to one school of thought, “there should not be any doubt about his patriotism”.
Bhagwat, who has courted controversy several times in the past with his staunch pro-Hindu stand— has said that he was not in the race to become the President --- after the Shiv Sena proposed his name. President Pranab Mukherjee’s term is set to end in July this year.
Sharief, however, urged people to show a large heart and not doubt as long as one worked under the Constitution.
“Why should anyone now become small and narrow minded to say we have no faith and confidence in an Indian?” he asked.
The former railway minister also cited the RSS’s support to former prime minister Indira Gandhi after the Bangladesh war to drive home his point.
His support to Bhagwat comes in the wake of another former Congress leader from Karnataka, SM Krishna, joining the BJP.
Sharief also expressed support for the Centre’s proposal for concurrent elections to various constitutional bodies.
“I have seen that elections to different bodies with different timings has been causing an unnecessary strain on the exchequer and hindering the progress of the country.”