The removal of Rajiv Gandhi’s name from his birth anniversary celebrations on “Sadbhavna Diwas” on August 20 raised the hackles of the Congress on Friday, with party leaders saying that the government’s “arbitrary and authoritarian decision” amounted to insult to the memory of a great Prime Minister and a martyr”.
Raising the issue during zero hour in the Rajya Sabha, Congress member Chhaya Verma seriously objected to the deletion of Gandhi’s name from the Sadbhavna Diwas functions since 2015, even as Minister of state for parliamentary affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi asserted that official schemes would not carry the name of “one family” under the Narendra Modi dispensation.
Verma said if Gandhi’s name had been deliberately removed, it amounted to a conspiracy.
Senior Congress member Anand Sharma stood up in support, saying that the government was obliterating names of former prime ministers, which amounted to insulting them. He demanded an explanation from the government in the matter.
Sharma alleged that the NDA government was naming schemes and programs after those people “who had done nothing for the country”.
Leader of the Opposition, Ghulam Nabi Azad got up to say that in the two and a half years of NDA rule, government schemes and programmes were being named after those people directly or indirectly associated with the ruling party.
Naqvi retorted saying that only one party and one family could not have a right over the country’s resources, government schemes and programmes. “During Modi’s term, it is not possible to carry out all schemes and programmes under the name of one family. Thousands of people have sacrificed their lives for the country and their contribution cannot be forgotten,” he said.