Pranab Mukherjee quotes Indira Gandhi on birth centenary: ‘Oppsition’s duty to oppose, expose, depose’

Mukherjee did not dwell at length on Emergency, but pointed out that Indira did not pass the buck and accepted full responsibility for the defeat in 1977.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:November 20, 2016 2:01 am
Indira gandhi, Pranab Mukherjee, Indira Gandhi birthday, Indira Gandhi life, Indira Gandhi news, Congress, Congress news, India news Congress president Sonia Gandhi and senior party leaders at the Indira Gandhi centennial lecture by President Pranab Mukherjee, in New Delhi on Saturday. (Express Photo by Renuka Puri)

Delivering a lecture on Indira Gandhi at a function organised by Congress to mark the beginning of the former PM’s birth centenary year, President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday seemed to be sending a message or two to the grand old party. He said Indira Gandhi will always remain in the “heart of the people of India” and continue to be the “ideal” with whom all future PMs will be compared.

Mukherjee did not dwell at length on Emergency, but pointed out that Indira did not pass the buck and accepted full responsibility for the defeat in 1977.

On the dais were Congress president Sonia Gandhi, vice-president Rahul Gandhi and former PM Manmohan Singh — and in the audience the entire Congress leadership.

Mukherjee said Congress leaders had then argued that people had punished the party for the Emergency and had wanted it to offer constructive cooperation to the ruling party.

“Indiraji, however, believed that the electoral defeat does not change the role of the opposition. It is the opposition’s duty to oppose, expose and, if possible, depose,” he said. Mukherjee said Indira was of the view that if Congress remained “apologetic for what has happened in the past”, it would not be able to inspire the people and party workers and highlight sufferings of Dalits and minorities because of “policies” of the then government. “And history has proved who was correct,” he added.

Speaking on the back-to-back Presidential elections in 1967 and 1969 — Indira was pitted against her own party in the latter — he wondered whether N Sanjeeva Reddy’s nomination in 1969 by her own party was an attempt to curtail powers of the PM.

“…Why did Sanjeeva Reddy, a relatively young man, only four years older than Indiraji, who had been Chief Minister twice, president of the Congress party and minister in the Union government decide to opt for the Presidential office, with hardly any executive powers? Was Sanjeeva Reddy’s nomination an effort to curtail the powers of the Prime Minister? Did Indiraji’s rivals want to use the Constitutional Office of the President to provoke a confrontation between the President and the Prime Minister?”

“Perhaps Indiraji opposed Sanjeeva Reddy’s candidature because she saw through this game… Indiraji felt strongly that in a parliamentary democracy like that of India the role of Prime Minister should be paramount,” he said.

Mother, mentor, friend’

Congress president Sonia Gandhi called Indira Gandhi her “mother, mentor and friend” from whom she imbibed her earliest political lessons. “Her sacrifice in preserving a united, diverse, egalitarian India will be remembered. All the more so at a time when, in the quest for shortcuts to greatness, we find leaders willing to undermine the very foundations of our national character,” she said.

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  1. P
    prof premraj pushpakaran
    Jun 2, 2017 at 6:09 pm
    Prof PremrajPushpakaran writes -- 2017 marks the birth centenary year of Indira hi!!
    1. P
      Nov 20, 2016 at 2:54 am
      There should not be opposition to Shri Modi
      1. V
        Nov 20, 2016 at 3:06 am
        Family dramas of solt;br/gt;Many s Bahu we have seen already. Sonia need not enact one for us. We know when the Bahu talks good about her MIL she is plotting some evil plan against her.
        1. B
          Bhagavath B S
          Nov 20, 2016 at 3:47 am
          1. I
            Nov 20, 2016 at 12:52 am
            Remember 1984 Sikh genocide victims on this day too. Indra become pure evil for Sikhs she totally ruined the punjab for decades.
            1. A
              Nov 20, 2016 at 6:00 am
              Recently the world never saw a greater leader than Mrs. Indira hi. She fragmented stan while supporters of stan both the USA and China watched impotently. She blasted an advanced nuclear weapon in 1974 and the world watched in dismay. As a believer in democracy she stepped down when she lost the elections. She was no follower and maintained India's independence and kept the Jews happy but did not let them in. Mr. Modi can learn much from her. Most attacks today on her are coming from outside our borders also via the Indian plants since during her leadership foreigners could not interfere. But note Congress Party is gone if they do not field an educated, honest, intelligent, nationalistic and experienced purely Indian leader now
              1. K
                krishnanada kini
                Nov 19, 2016 at 10:10 pm
                Mukherjee should not have made a such a politically sensitive speech containing adverse references to Syndicate of 1969 and Janatha Party of 1979 as he has occupied Highest non political office of the country. Had he forgotten the dubious role he pla immediately after ination of his beloved leader? Mukherjee was Short on loyalty and long on opportunistic speech!
                1. A
                  Ashok Mazumdar
                  Nov 20, 2016 at 1:48 am
                  Zoomla being used by even Pranab Mukherjii : ... pose, ... pose,.... pose. Like Modi !
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