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Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019

Congress says unfortunate Kovind did not mention Nehru in his speech

President Ram Nath Kovind’s acceptance speech has riled the Congress which says it was partisan.

india Updated: Jul 26, 2017 11:04 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
President Ram Nath Kovind greeting dignitaries after taking oath in the Central Hall of Parliament  on Tuesday.
President Ram Nath Kovind greeting dignitaries after taking oath in the Central Hall of Parliament on Tuesday. (PTI)

The Congress has taken strong exception to President Ram Nath Kovind not mentioning the name of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in his maiden speech after assuming the country’s top post on Tuesday.

The main opposition party also criticised the President for comparing Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi with Jan Sangh leader Deen Dayal Upadhyaya.

“He is no longer a member of any political party but is the President of India. It is very sad and unfortunate that he did not take the name of Nehru who was a freedom fighter though he did mention his cabinet colleagues BR Ambedkar and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in his speech,” leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters after Kovind’s speech.

“He has to protect the Constitution and rise above and think beyond party politics,” Azad said.

His party colleague Anand Sharma said it was ‘wrong’ to compare Mahatma Gandhi with Deen Dayal Upadhyaya.

“It is unfortunate that in his first address he chose to equate Mahatma Gandhi with Deen Dayal Upadhyay. It has disrespected history and the fact that while Gandhiji was the mahanayak, Deen Dayalji was neither a leader of India’s freedom movement nor did he make any contribution in building modern India after independence,” Sharma said. “It is expected that the President rises above partisan considerations.”

In his first speech after being sworn in as the 14th President of India in the central hall of Parliament, Kovind remembered Mahatma Gandhi, Ambedkar and Sardar Patel.

Read more: Pomp and tradition come together as new president Ram Nath Kovind takes office

“Our Independence was the result of efforts by thousands of patriotic freedom fighters led by Mahatma Gandhi. Later, Sardar Patel integrated our nation. Principal architect of our Constitution Babasaheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar instilled in us the value of human dignity and of the republican ethic,” he said.

Kovind added, “These leaders did not believe that simply political freedom was enough. For them, it was crucial to also achieve economic and social freedom for millions of our people.”

Concluding his speech, the President said, “We need to sculpt a robust, high growth economy, an educated, ethical and shared community, and an egalitarian society, as envisioned by Mahatma Gandhi and Deen Dayal Upadhyay ji. These are integral to our sense of humanism. This is the India of our dreams, an India that will provide equality of opportunities. This will be the India of the 21st century.”

First Published: Jul 26, 2017 11:01 IST

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