Taking a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said that today it is possible for a tea seller to be the prime minister of the country because of the institutional structures created by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
“If today we have a ‘chaiwala’ as Prime Minister, it’s because Nehru Ji made it possible to create the institutional structures through which any Indian can aspire to rise to the highest office in the land,” he said while addressing a gathering at the launch of the new edition of his 2003 book ‘Nehru: The Invention of India’.
The lawmaker from Thiruvananthapuram further said that a consorted campaign of vilification, calumny and an astonishing amount of lies are out there on the internet against Nehru.
“If today the government can boast about Managlyaan, ask who created ISRO. Who decided that even poor India could dare to aim for the skies? Who created the IITs that sent so many bright young men to Silicon Valley that 40 per cent of the start-ups there are helmed by Indians?” he asked.
In her address to the same gathering United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi said the precious legacy of independent India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, was being undermined on a regular basis by those ruling the country presently.
Furthermore, Gandhi appealed to the people of India to fight with determination to safeguard the country’s democracy against those undermining it.
Nehru’s core values of democratic institution building, secularism, socialist economics and foreign policy of non-alignment were being challenged by the ruling dispensation.
“Precious legacy of Nehru is being undermined daily by those who rule us today. They express disdain for Nehru for all that he did to build India that they are bent upon changing for worse. Today we must honour him by fighting with determination to safeguard democracy,” the UPA chief said.
Recalling Nehru’s conviction on the eve of his birth anniversary, Gandhi said that the former always believed that India belonged to all its people and it was the responsibility of the majority community to protect the rights and well-being of the minorities.
“Nehru never believed that India was a country only for Hindu Indians. He never expected the logic that since Pakistan had been created for Indian Muslims, what remained was a state for Hindu Indians. He believed in a country for all,” she said.
(With ANI inputs)