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Congress Issues Apology After Flak Over Missing Maulana Azad In Plenary Ad

The full-page advertisement which was published in dailies on the third day of the plenary session on Saturday, featured Congress leaders of the past

Congress leader tweeted a photo of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad on the dias of the plenary session
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A fresh controversy sparked on Sunday after an advertisement on Congress's 85th plenary session which appeared on multiple national dailies, did not feature India's first education minister and freedom fighter Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. The Congress apologised after it received flak from several quarters.

The party said it was "an inexcusable slip-up", for which responsibility was being fixed and action would be taken. The full-page advertisement, published in dailies on the third day of the plenary session on Saturday, featured Congress leaders of the past -- Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, B R Ambedkar, Subhas Chandra Bose, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, P V Narasimha Rao and Sarojini Naidu.

Sharing the advertisement on Twitter, Congress MP Manish Tewari said, "The @INCIndia has a pantheon of Muslim leaders who struggled against fissiparous tendencies especially within their community that led to creation of Pakistan & dedicated themselves to inclusive idea of India. Someone wants to airbrush their contribution from annals of History."

Several people called out the Congress for leaving out Azad in its advertisement. "Today an ad released by INC did not carry a photograph of Maulana Azad. It was an inexcusable slipup. Responsibility for it is being fixed & action will be taken," Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said in a tweet. "Meanwhile this is a most sincere apology from us. He will always remain an iconic & inspiring figure for us & India," he said. 

Ramesh also responded to a tweet by a party leader which pointed out that Azad's picture featured on the dias of the plenary session, saying, "Hope all those who took us to task (justifiable as it may have been) for one goof do take note."

BSP MP Kunwar Danish Ali hit out at the Congress, saying Rahul Gandhi will have to confront and clean RSS elements in his party that are responsible for such a self-goal. "How can INC forget Maulana Azad and his contribution? Earlier also, Pranab Mukherjee and Shivraj Patil approved installation of Savarkar's portrait in Parliament," Ali said.

BJP MP and its youth wing president Tejasvi Surya said it was "hypocritical" on the part of the Congress to include Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, B R Ambedkar, Subhas Chandra Bose, Lal Bahadur Shastri and P V Narasimha Rao in its advertisement. "The nation remembers how Nehru family treated these stalwarts & tried erasing their legacy. This advert is only laughable!" he tweeted.

Meanwhile, AIMIM questioned the inclusion of PV Narasimha Rao in the advertisement. "As Prime Minister, Narasimha Rao played an essential role in the demolition of Babri Masjid. It should not be forgiven or forgotten," they said.

(With PTI inputs) 

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