Cong hits back at BJP over Nehru meet

A bitter war of words has broken out between the Congress and the BJP over Nehru’s legacy.

Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma on Tuesday accused the Narendra Modi government of creating obstacles at every step for the party, which had organised an international conference to commemorate Nehru’s 125th birth anniversary.

Stung by the caustic remarks of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who had on Monday wondered whether the Congress' guest list was influenced by its “depleting fortunes”, the Congress hit back at the government, accusing it of “acting petty” and “trying to stop the conference from taking place”.

Sharma, who played a key role in organising the conference, claimed that leaders from across the world were shocked to see their deliberations found no mention on television channels.

“When they (the world leaders) watched Indian TV, they were left wondering whether the largest democracy was truly democratic. Please redeem your respect because the world is watching,” he urged the electronic media.

Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai, former Ghana president John Kufuor, former Nepal prime minister Madhav Nepal, former Egyptian foreign minister Amre Moussa and Queen Mother of Bhutan Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk were among the leader who attended the two-day conference.

“This government did not want the conference to take place. We were denied the Vigyan Bhavan venue on November 14 (Nehru's birth anniversary) when it was not being used (by anybody). We did not get any cooperation,” he said.

He accused the Modi government of instructing Indian missions abroad to stonewall queries about the conference from a cross-section of world leaders. “The aim was to dissuade them from coming. There were many other difficulties,” said Sharma.

He also justified its decision of not inviting Prime Minister Narendra Modi or the BJP for the conference, saying: “We will never invite them in the future either. The Congress has never complained that it was not invited to an event organised by the BJP or the RSS. Rather, their invitation would be an insult to us.”

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