Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge on November 14 targeted the Narendra Modi Government for following a policy of “changing names” instead of focusing on work and accused it of ignoring the development witnessed under previous Congress regimes.
Mr. Kharge said the Modi Government followed the policy of “divide and rule” and the government was “not a democratic one”.
He made these remarks at an event where the Nehru Memorial Lecture was delivered by noted scholar and former professor of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Purushottam Agrawal, at the Jawahar Bhawan.
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“Earlier, the Nehru Memorial Lecture used to happen at [the] Teen Murti Bhavan where his [Nehru’s] views and ideas were put forward. But this government is not even allowing giving place there for putting forward Nehru’s ideas,” Mr. Kharge said.
The Congress chief said Prime Minister Modi often asked what happened in the country in the last 70 years and added that the answer to that lay in the figures of life expectancy, economy, irrigation projects and dams.
“Their [the BJP’s] work is to divide and rule, and that is why [Congress leader] Rahul Gandhi has undertaken the Bharat Jodo Yatra,” Mr. Kharge said.
Recalling that he had started a train service from Mysuru to Varanasi when he was the Railway Minister, Mr. Kharge said Mr. Modi claimed credit for it during his recent visit to Karnataka. “I was wondering what happened to my engine. Then I realised the train has now been named as fast train,” Mr. Kharge said, referring to Mr. Modi flagging off Vande Bharat Express at the Krantiveera Sangolli railway station in Bengaluru on Friday.
The Congress chief also slammed the Prime Minister for his remarks that he received “two-three kg” of abuses daily and claimed that people had started ascertaining facts themselves.
Mr. Kharge also accused the ruling BJP of trying to appropriate Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and pointed out that he was a Congressman. “If you consider him your own, also follow his principles,” he said.
Prof. Agrawal spoke on the relevance of Nehru in the 21 st century and the attempts to malign his legacy through false narratives.
He said “our times are indeed post-truth times” and anyone can claim his or her own alternative facts and “post-truth is the first step towards fascism”.
“Pre-fascism does not take much time in turning into full-fledged fascism. The struggle against such a possibility is a moral duty of every right-thinking human being and Nehru is a perennial source of wisdom and inspiration for such a struggle. No wonder all forms of fascism fear and hate Nehru so intensely,” Prof. Agrawal said.
The former JNU professor said Nehruvian economics and foreign policy of non-alignment stood the test of time. He said the average Indian life expectancy in 1947 was 31 years and after 17 years, in 1964, it went up to around 50 years.
“Was it a mean achievement? That too going along with a robust democracy in which the critics of the Prime Minister were not denounced as anti-nationals and the Prime Minister did not describe abuses as his staple diet,” he said.