After having brought together a section of the “secular” opposition at an event to mark the 125th birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru, the Congress went on an offensive against the BJP government Tuesday. While Rahul Gandhi took potshots, his party went a step further. The Congress vice-president said Nehru’s “ideas and politics” are relevant even today although some wish to “rub him out” and “erase him and his legacy”.
In what can be interpreted as a message to the Narendra Modi government, he said Nehru gave “space for his opposition even when they were practically non-existent”.
“Nehru himself is an ancient idea, but he is also a part of living India. His ideas and his politics are present very much today, even though there are those who wish to rub him out, to erase him and his legacy from the country he so dearly treasured and helped build,” Rahul said. Nehru’s “legacy” of a “secular and tolerant” India was today more important than ever, he added.
“But, today, what I find troubling is how we can condemn people because the ideas they treasure are not our own. Nehru understood that everyone is entitled to their viewpoints…at the time when the Opposition was sparse in Parliament, he reached out to them, made them feel that while electorally they may be weak, in his world they were valued partners in nation-building.”
After the curtains came down on the two-day international conference Tuesday, the Congress targeted the government for “putting obstacles at every step” in holding of the conclave.
“This government did not want the conference to take place. We were denied the venue Vigyan Bhavan on November 14 when it was not being used (by anybody). A little circular went out from here to (Indian) embassies telling them if world leaders called them, ask them to contact the Congress directly. The aim was to dissuade them from coming. There were many other difficulties,” senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh lauded Nehru as a leader of great compassion and strong convictions. “His faith in inclusive democracy, secularism and socio-economic empowerment of all people was unwavering. Nehru’s world views are based on universal values. Political ideologies come and go, some with doubtful legacies and others with terrible consequences. Many -isms have battled for our minds, but few have succeeded in touching our hearts,” Singh said.