Modi Govt Trying to 'Undermine' Nehru's Contributions: Cong

New Delhi
Modi Govt Trying to 'Undermine' Nehru's Contributions: Cong

Locked in a legacy war with NDA, Congress leaders today accused the ruling combine of trying to "undermine" the contributions of Jawaharlal Nehru as curtains came down on Congress's year-long 125th birth anniversary celebrations of India's first Prime Minister.

"There are some forces in India today, which is creating misinformation about Nehru's role in making new India. It is very necessary for all of us to go to people and tell them once again how big was the contribution of Nehru in making the new India," former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said.

He was speaking at an event to commemmorate the 126th birth anniversary of Nehru today, which was the culminiation of the year-long celebrations that started last year on November 14, the 125th birth aniversary of India's first Prime Minister, who was born November 14, 1889, in Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh also paid tributes to Nehru separately. While the Prime Minister said that the late leader had spent his life in giving freedom to India, Singh said that despite ideological differences, no one can doubt Nehru's intention to work for the welfare of people and nation-building.

Unimpressed by these gestures, the Congress today launched a hard hitting attack on the NDA dispensation for trying to "undermine" his legacy, evoking sharp reactions from the BJP, which said that Congress has turned into a "machine of lies" and was harming India's image in its bid to target the Prime Minister.

To mark the occasion, web portals in English and Hindi were launched to highlight the legacy of Nehru. A number of party leaders went hammer and tongs against NDA for "assaulting" the vision of Nehru, whose birthday is celebrated as Children's Day in the country every year.

Party veteran A K Antony said, "today when reactionary forces and communal ideologies are undermining Nehru's legacy and ideas, it is important that we must strongly defend his ideology."

Congress leader Anand Sharma said the current government, BJP and RSS are "attacking" the legacy of Nehru and criticised the Prime Minister for "not taking even Nehru's name" during his interactions at the India Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi even as African representatives heaped praise on Nehru.

Sharma said that it needs to be clearly stated that the "BJP or the RSS are not the spokesperson" of the Hindu majority.

Academician and activist Ram Puniyani said that Nehru's advocacy of diversity and pluralism were under "assault" since the NDA came to power.

Lauding the contribution of Nehru and counterpointing it with the alleged attempts by the NDA to "infect" the nation and its people with sense of "intolerance, prejudice, injustice, communalism, hatred and bigotry", Sonia Gandhi said during such times the "light" of Nehru's ideology continues to shine forth and show the way out of darkness.

This is the second mega event organised by the party within a week, after a two-day conference was organised at Jawahar Bhavan on November 6 and 7.

During the conference, Congress had brought many writers and historians to discuss freedom equality, democracy and secularism in today's context.

Congress' frontal wing Seva Dal also took out a march in the morning.

The programme concluded in the evening with a music extravaganza "Purnam" at Nehru Park where some top artistes including Sonu Nigam, Ustad Chand Afzal and group (Sufiana Qawwali), Vidushi Aruna Sairam (Carnatik Kritis) from Chennai performed after recital of Vedic chants by representatives of Panini Kanya Mahavidyalaya of Varanasi.

The year-long event had begun in 2014 with an international conference in the capital, attended by prominent personalities including politicians from abroad and a number of non-Congress and non-BJP leaders here.

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