Congress party leaders President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of spreading the “poison” of communalism and asked party men to fight those out to demolish Jawaharlal Nehru’s “liberal India”, intensifying the battle over his legacy.
While both the Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi did not take the name of Modi, the reference was obvious when they spoke at a party function on the eve of the 125th birth anniversary of Nehru here.
“These days, the foundation of love and brotherhood is being demolished. On one hand houses are being painted and roads are being cleaned. Photo opportunities are happening. Snaps are being taken. On the other hand, poison is being spread. The very foundations are being weakened,” Gandhi said.
In her speech made in the presence of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit, Sonia Gandhi asked party men to be united and strengthen the organisations and connect and fight those forces out to demolish Nehru’s vision of a liberal India.
“Massive attempts are on to destroy the vision of Nehru, the way he used to look at India. The forces, which are doing this are targeting not only his persona but also his ideology, his vision, his life-long contributions and struggle,” she said.
The Congress President said that had Nehru been alive, he would have asked all Congressmen to fight communalism of all hues by becoming a “valiant secular soldier” for protecting the soul of India.
Out of power for the last six months after a crushing defeat in the Lok Sabha polls, the party is utilising the 125th birth anniversary of Nehru to rally round non-NDA parties on a platform raising the pitch of secularism.
It has organised an international meet on November 17 and 18 for which it has not invited Modi, who it accuses of appropriating the legacy of freedom movement leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru and Sardar Patel. Sonia Gandhi has extended invitations personally to leaders including Nitish Kumar and Mamata Banerjee.