Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu while addressing an event at Anand in Gujarat on Saturday, said that Congress was primarily “a movement of people of different ideologies” which Mahatma Gandhi had suggested to be disbanded.
“Mahatma Gandhi gave two suggestions after independence. First, he asked for the closure of the Congress as a platform. I am telling you for your information that the Congress party was primarily a unit where people of different ideologies gathered under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhiji, Gopal Krishna Gokhaleji, Bal Gangadhar Tilakji and Dadabhai Naoroji with a goal to achieve freedom,” Naidu said at the 40th Foundation Day of the Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA). “They came together and fought for independence. When independence was achieved, the work was finished and there was no need for any discussion.”
He said the second suggestion of the Mahatma was asking people to “go back to villages.” “Unfortunately, we have shown our backs to the villages,” he said, adding that 60 per cent of the India still lives in villages.
The VP claimed that the Ayodhya verdict was being celebrated by people. “People are happy over a meaningful solution because we have put an end to these things behind and moved on. The solution has been welcomed by one and all,” he said about the November 9 verdict of the Supreme Court, which backed the construction of a Ram temple and gave a five-acre plot for a mosque to be built.
Commenting on the prices of onions prevailing in the country, he said, “Sometimes low price, tears in eyes. Sometimes high price, again tears in eyes.”
Naidu also visited the native home of the first Home Minister of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, at Karmsad, a few kilometres from Anand.
He also recalled the contribution made by Verghese Kurien, who is known as the Father of White Revolution. “I salute his memory, foresight, and the initiatives he had taken. The regions where this Amul movement reached are developed and other areas are comparatively less developed. It’s not only a beautiful but also a dutiful place. It was here that white revolution was conceptualised and implemented. India is today the world’s largest producer of milk,” Naidu said.
Naidu remembered former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s initiative to build rural roads, and said that the next phase of the movement to provide clean drinking water and toilets was undertaken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in addition to highlighting the need for water conservation.
“Water crisis is possible in the coming days. In fact it can be seen even now, but we are not paying much attention to it. Joining rivers, cleaning them, conserving lakes, and reducing, reusing and recycling water is a vital mantra,” he said.
The VP appealed to people to participate in projects undertaken by the government. “The country has this mentality that every work will be done by government and we can sit idle. This will not do. Whether it is Clean India Clean Water programme, or ‘Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao’, ‘Fitness India’, or Yoga, all these programmes should become people’s programmes, with people’s participation, and this is vital for their success,” he said.
“Proper training and mentoring is a pre-requisite to turn village farmers into successful entrepreneurs,” the VP said while highlighting the importance of institutes like IRMA. “White Revolution was achieved not by mass production, but production by masses. This helped small and marginal farmers to reap the benefits of the economy of scale.”
On Sunday, Naidu is scheduled to attend the convocation of Sardar Patel University at Vallabh Vidyanagar and also confer the President’s Police Colours to Gujarat police at the Police Academy at Karai, Gandhinagar. Later in the day, he is expect to proceed to Dhordo in Kutch district to participate in the Rann Utsav.
‘History has not done justice to Sardar Patel’
Naidu also spoke at the inauguration of Charutar Vidya Mandir (CVM) University near Karamsad, the native village of Sardar Patel in Anand district.
“Sardar Patel believed freedom without economic prosperity and social reform would rob India’s independence of its true meaning,” he said.
“Unfortunately, history has not done justice to the personality and contribution of this great son of this great country. But now, fortunately, we are recognising it,” Naidu said.
Patel wanted to bridge the urban-rural divide and he “re-focussed country’s attention on rural development” in line with Mahatma Gandhi’s ideal of ‘Ram Rajya’ (the perfect state), he said. Future generations must be taught to remember Sardar Patel “with respect and gratitude and understand his grand vision,” he added.
Talking about the Statue of Unity at Kevadiya in Narmada district of Gujarat, Naidu said, “I am told, and am happy to know, his statue is receiving double the number of visitors (as compared to) Statue of Liberty in America. Whoever visits India must visit Sardar Patel’s statue and know about his contribution.”
Naidu also said that the country needs to keep growing “to meet the growing expectations of people”.
Naidu presented an award to L&T group chairman A M Naik on behalf of CVM for being an illustrious alumnus of the institution. Naik, a Padma Vibhushan awardee, is also the chairman of the National Skill Development Corporation.
Naik, whose company built the Statue of Unity, termed it a “miracle”.
“Anyone who has not gone there must go. And take the elevator to the top and be on the top of the world,” he said.