Congress president Sonia Gandhi skipped the Independence Day event at Red Fort and the ‘At Home’ hosted by President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Thursday.
She unfurled the national flag at the Congress headquarters here and said there is no place in India for bigotry and fanaticism, and asked the nation to stand against every act of injustice, intolerance and discrimination to truly cherish freedom.
This is the second time Sonia has skipped the Independence Day event at Red Fort since the Narendra Modi government came to power. She attended the Independence Day events in 2014, 2015 and 2017, and Rahul Gandhi attended the event last year as he was Congress president then. In 2016, Sonia had skipped the event as she was unwell. Rahul, who was then Congress vice-president, had unfurled the Tricolour at the Congress headquarters.
There was no response from the Congress on why its chief skipped the I-Day events.
Sonia unfurled the national flag at the Congress headquarters in the presence of top leaders like Rahul Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, A K Antony, Ahmed Patel, Anand Sharma and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad.
In her message, she appealed to all to “reinvigorate the principles of compassion, coexistence and inclusive development as the indelible features of our polity, society and economy”. She said India has surged ahead exponentially in all arenas “but at our core are the founding principles of truth, non-violence, compassion and unwavering patriotism”.
“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,” she said. “We must rise as a nation to stand against every act of injustice, intolerance and discrimination to truly cherish our freedom.”
The Congress chief said the baton of nation-building as also building a modern, equal, just and egalitarian society founded upon scientific temper is in the hands of the youth. Reminding the nation that independence was a result of immeasurable sacrifices of those who made India what it is today, Sonia asked citizens to observe the solemn duty of protecting and preserving the values of freedom, brotherhood, peace and equality. She said the country must also not forget the “supreme sacrifice of our armed forces in protecting the integrity of India”.