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Home / India News / On Nehru’s birth anniversary, BJP, Congress spar over his legacy

On Nehru’s birth anniversary, BJP, Congress spar over his legacy

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor’s comment that made a reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s humble origins while praising the legacy of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru triggered a political firestorm on Wednesday, with BJP hitting back.

india Updated: Nov 15, 2018 00:00 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The BJP and the Congress sparred over the legacy of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on the 129th birth anniversary, celebrated as Children's Day (Bal Diwas), of the first prime minister of India (Representative Photo)
The BJP and the Congress sparred over the legacy of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on the 129th birth anniversary, celebrated as Children's Day (Bal Diwas), of the first prime minister of India (Representative Photo) (PTI)

On Nehru’s birth anniversary, BJP, Congress spar over his legacy

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor’s comment that made a reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s humble origins triggered a political firestorm on Wednesday. Senior BJP leader Sudhanshu Trivedi led his party’s charge, insisting that Narendra Modi is the only one to become prime minister on the back on “massive public support”.

In comparison, “former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru could become the first PM of the country on compassionate grounds,” said Trivedi. “And Indira Gandhi (became the PM) due to her syndicate,” the Bharatiya Janata Party national spokesperson said at a press conference in Jaipur. He did not, however, elaborate.

Tharoor should shed his “Macaulay mindset” and accept that Indian democratic system was not because of one person or party and Indian democracy dated back thousands of years.

“It is due to India’s democratic tradition dating back thousands of years because of which there is democracy in the country and anyone can become prime minister of the country. A tea-seller became PM and a dynast could not become PM but that is a separate issue,” he said.

In response, state Congress spokesperson Archana Sharma said it was not the Congress but the BJP that was touting that a tea-seller has become prime minister of India. “Congress party has nurtured Indian democracy and that has given opportunities to all to reach the highest post in the country,” she said.

Trivedi’s attack came after Tharoor - who at a programme in Delhi on Tuesday to launch the new edition of his 2003 book ‘Nehru: The Invention of India’ - had credited the first prime minister with creating the structures which, he said, had enabled Narendra Modi had become a prime minister.

“If today we have a chai wala as prime minister, it is because Nehru created the institutional structures through which any Indian can aspire to rise to the highest office of the land,” Tharoor had said.

At the same event, United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi accused the BJP of “undermining the legacy” of India’s first prime minister and urged the people to honour the late leader by fighting with determination to safeguard the country’s democracy.

“Nehru’s precious legacy is being undermined daily by those who rule us today. They express disdain and contempt for Nehru for all that he did to build the India that they are bent upon changing for the worse,” she said in her address.

On Wednesday, Union minister Prakash Javadekar also weighed in, accusing the Congress of not being able to look beyond one family or recall the contribution of others to the country.

“If democracy is thriving in India, it is because of the Constitution. It was the constituent assembly headed by Baba Sahab Ambedkar and having many other eminent people which laid the foundation of democracy,” he told reporters in Delhi, according to PTI.

The BJP has often been critical of India’s first prime minister. On Nehru’s birth anniversary, Congress hit back at the BJP in his defence, charging the BJP, particularly PM Modi, of making a concerted effort to tarnish Nehru’s legacy.

“Dear PM Modi, you can try to tarnish his name, malign his legacy or eradicate him from our history but India will never forget one of her greatest sons, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru,” the party tweeted.

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