Interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who hoisted the tricolour at the party headquarters in New Delhi Thursday, said there is no place for bigotry and fanaticism in India. She said that if the nation wants to truly cherish freedom, then it will have to stand against every act of injustice, intolerance and discrimination. Addressing the party members, Gandhi cited the founding principles of India as ‘Truth, Non – Violence, Compassion and unwavering Patriotism.’
On the occasion of the 73rd Independence Day, she appealed to all to reinvigorate the principles of compassion, coexistence and inclusive development as the indelible features of polity, society and economy. Gandhi said a democratic and resilient India at 73 has no place for bigotry, superstition, sectarianism, fanaticism, racialism, intolerance or injustice, yet millions of fellow citizens encounter discrimination every day.
In a statement issued by the party, Gandhi said, “Reminding the nation that our Independence was a result of immeasurable sacrifices of those who made India what it is today.”
Gandhi called on the people to observe the solemn duty of protecting and preserving the values of freedom, brotherhood, peace and equality. “We must not forget the supreme sacrifice of our armed forces in protecting the integrity of India. She also paid tribute to our farmers, labourers, artisans, scientists, tradesmen, teachers, artists, writers & thinkers, who play an important role in nation-building,” the statement said.
The party interim President said the baton of nation-building as wells as building a modern, equal, just and egalitarian society founded upon scientific temper is in the hands of the youth. And she appealed to all to “reinvigorate the principles of compassion, coexistence and inclusive development as the indelible features of our polity, society and economy”.
Former party chief Rahul Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and Congress leaders Kapil Sibal, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Ahmed Patel, Salman Khurshid, Motilal Vora and Ghulam Nabi Azad were among those who attended the flag-hoisting.
The ceremony ended with the recital of the national anthem. Congress Sewa Dal volunteers saluted to the national flag. A group of children present greeted Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh who presented them with sweets.
Earlier in the day, Rahul quoted Mahatma Gandhi as he greeted the nation. “Complete independence will be complete only to the extent of our approach in practice to truth and nonviolence,” he tweeted. “My best wishes to all of you on this our 73rd Independence Day.”
Three months after Rahul Gandhi quit as party chief and almost 20 months since she made way for him to lead the party, the Congress Saturday named Sonia Gandhi its interim Congress president.
The decision came after the Congress Working Committee (CWC), following a marathon discussion for close to 12 hours, failed to arrive at a consensus on picking a non-Gandhi successor to Rahul, who was adamant on quitting. He had resigned as chief in May after the party’s disastrous performance in the Lok Sabha polls.