Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday accused the Narendra Modi government of pursuing “communal and divisive politics” and said it was “systematically working to dismantle the Congress legacy and rewrite history”.
“Today, when we see the ruling establishment pursuing communal and divisive politics and follow policies that favour a few and the powerful, when we see their ideology that shuns secularism, tolerance and inclusion, when the spokespersons of its agenda make blatantly partisan appeals to obtain votes, Indira-ji’s values acquire even greater importance,” Sonia Gandhi said in her speech to commemorate the 98th birth anniversary of former prime minister Indira Gandhi at the Indian Youth Congress convention here.
She said the Modi government’s ideology shunned the pursuit of secularism.
Sonia Gandhi also attacked the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), saying the “present government and its masters who exercise control from behind the scenes are systematically working to dismantle the legacy of the Congress, to rewrite our history, to negate all that Nehru, Indira-ji and all our leaders have achieved”.
“We will not allow them to succeed. Our party’s history is intimately linked with the history of our country,” she said.
She said the Youth Congress was the first forum through which leaders of the future come into the Congress.
“It is for the Youth Congress to be at the vanguard of upholding the Congress history, ideals, policies and contribution to nation building. I urge you to learn all that you can from the lives of the founding fathers of our nation – Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar (Vallabhbhai) Patel, Maulana (Abul Kalam) Azad and so many others and, of course, Indira-ji,” Sonia Gandhi said.
Noting that Indira Gandhi’s greatest strength was that she connected directly with the people, Sonia Gandhi said it was achieved by working among the people and taking up their issues.
“That is how this relationship can be strengthened – not just at times of elections but at all times. Perhaps, one way for the Youth Congress to do this is to make its own version of Indira-ji’s 20-point programme and dedicatedly work towards implementing it,” the Congress president said.
She said Indira Gandhi was dedicated to ensuring the unity of the country while being fiercely proud and protective of its many diversities.
“National unity and secularism were among the pillars of her beliefs. She was keenly mindful of the suffering and injustice faced by the weak and the marginalised.”
Referring to steps such as nationalisation of banks, abolition of privy purses and efforts towards Green Revolution taken during the years Indira Gandhi was the prime minister, Sonia Gandhi said, “It was her determined political leadership that protected the integrity of our nation when it was threatened by powerful forces.”
She said Indira Gandhi was a child of the freedom movement and imbibed her values and her politics from that struggle.
“She is an inspiration to all of us. From the heights of success to the lows of defeat, only to rise again to greater heights, her life teaches us that with courage, dedication and determination even the most difficult obstacles can be overcome,” the Congress president said.
Sonia Gandhi also referred to the string of defeats faced by her party and its recent success in Bihar assembly elections.
“In recent times, our party has faced some setbacks, but as the election in Bihar shows, if we persevere and work hard, we can overcome these obstacles. We should never forget that the Congress is much more than just a political party; it is a people’s movement,” she said.