In a counter-attack after Congress accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of insulting freedom fighters, BJP today said the Congress of today does not represent the Congress of freedom movement, claiming that Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel would have never thought it would become a “family concern”.
Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also took a dig at Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi after he tweeted a Sanskrit shloka to target Modi, saying he will have to first find out who tweeted on Gandhi’s behalf and also his knowledge of history before he responds to comments.
Citing participation of RSS founder K B Hedgewar in the struggle against the British rule, he also highlighted the “role” of RSS and BJP in liberation struggle for Goa and Hyderabad besides in movement against the Emergency to underscore the “sacrifices” made by them.
After senior Congress leader Anand Sharma quoted Sardar Patel to target RSS, Prasad accused the party of quoting him “selectively” and insulting him “institutionally” as he noted that Patel was given Bharat Ratna in 1991 by the then Chandra Shekhar government, almost four decades after he died.
“Does the Congress party of today represent even one per cent of the essence of the Congress party of the freedom movement? Nehru and Patel would have never thought that it would become a family concern,” he told a press conference.
Prasad insisted that Modi in his speech at a BJP even did not undermine the role of the Congress in the freedom movement and recalled that he had praised Nehru in his August 15 speech.
RSS was banned twice and Jana Sangh, the forerunner of BJP, in Emergency, he said, adding that no reason was found to ban RSS leading to repeal of the ban.
Earlier, BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma said, “British used to repress Indians. Congress has been repressing rivals. It imposed the Emergency and threw all rivals behind bars. Repressing rivals has been part of its policy,”
He also referred to the death of Jana Sangh founder Shyama Prasad Mukherjee in a Jammu jail during his protests against the stand of Congress on Kashmir issue.
“We are giving due respect to all freedom fighters. Lakhs of people made sacrifices. India’s struggle for freedom started in 1857. The past governments glorified a few people. Bhagat Singh was mentioned as a terrorist and Chandrashekhar Azad’s sacrifice was hardly acknowledged. We are making amends and glorifying everybody,” he said.