M A I N   N E W S

Sonia, Rahul warn of attempts to erase Nehru
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 13
The 125th birth anniversary of Pt Jawaharlal Nehru became an occasion for political slugfest today with the Congress leadership launching an all-out attack on what it described as the BJP’s “divisive” and “exhibitionist” politics.

While party president Sonia Gandhi called for a people’s movement to protect the Nehruvian vision of tolerant India saying attempts were being made to erase it, party vice-president Rahul Gandhi dismissed PM Narendra Modi’s “Clean India” initiative as mere “photo opportunity” and questioned his policy of conscious promotion of Hindi at the cost of English.

“Today attempts are being made to erase Nehru’s vision,” said Sonia in her first major address to party members post Congress’ electoral reverses.

“Forces doing so are targeting not just Nehru’s personality but also his ideology and contributions. We must pledge today to fight those ideologies, organisations and individuals which seek to destroy the foundations of a generous India that Nehruji built. Had Nehruji been with us today, he would have also asked us to become secular soldiers to defeat communal forces,” she said.

Pitching Nehru’s ideology against that of the BJP and the RSS, Sonia made a political statement to her demoralised cadre that the Congress would continue to follow Nehruvian legacy of socialism come what may. She was addressing party’s official celebrations of Nehru’s 125th birth anniversary at Talkatora Stadium.

Earlier, Rahul without naming Modi described him as part of an “angry lot” that had decided to discourage English.

“Had it not been for English, there would have been no IIT or IT and Indians would not be working in the US,” said Rahul recalling his great grandfather’s decision to retain English post-Independence knowing English would be India’s link to the world.

Rahul mocked Modi’s “Swachh Bharat” campaign as a “photo op” saying: “People are wielding brooms, wiping roads clean. It’s a good photo op. But on the other hand, they are sowing seeds of poison. Only Congress can be an antidote to this poison,” said Rahul.

Sonia carried forward the strain in his thought and described Nehru as the principal architect of modern India. She subtly described the BJP as the force attempting to destroy the Nehruvian legacy of institutions above individuals and cultural assimilation.

“We will always need Nehru’s ideals to survive …,” she said using Nehru’s personality to rejuvenate undermined cadres and reminding them that the Congress had seen worse times in its 129 year history.

Even the oath which former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, chief of the celebrations committee, was asked to administer to the gathering reflected Congress’ urge to use Nehru as their inspiration in these trying times.

The oath called on party men to fight divisive forces which fan communal tensions. Its backdrop was set earlier when Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president Arvinder Lovely, chief organiser, spoke of the recent communal flare up in an otherwise peaceful Trilokpuri locality of Delhi.

Both Sonia and Rahul, in the presence of all Congress seniors, acknowledged that mistakes had been made and that the Congress needs to go to the people, live their hopes and despair and bounce back.

Swachh Bharat a ‘photo op’

People are wielding brooms, wiping roads clean. It’s a good photo op. But on the other hand, they are sowing seeds of poison. Only the Congress can be an antidote to this poison —  Rahul Gandhi, Congress Vice-President

BJP slams Rahul

BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli targeted Rahul Gandhi saying his entire life was a “photo opportunity and he tends to see everything else from that perspective”.





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