Respect Oppn as valued partners, says Rahul

Cong leader slams attempts to 'erase' Nehru's legacy

 At a time when the BJP is talking of “Congress-free India”, Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday had a message for the Modi government – respect the opposition as valued partners in nation building.

Rahul also slammed attempts by the saffron forces to “erase the legacy” of Jawaharlal Nehru that has been preserved for close to 70 years and is more important than ever today.

“Nehru gave space for his opposition, even when they were practically nonexistent. At the time when the Opposition was sparse in Parliament, he reached out to them, gave them a feeling that while electorally they may be weak, in his world they were valued partners in nation-building,” Rahul said. He was speaking at the valedictory session of a two-day conference on Nehru.

Rahul said the ideas and politics of India’s first prime minister were very much relevant today.
“Even though there are those who wish to rub him out, to erase him and his legacy from the country he so dearly treasured and helped build,” he said. The Congress suffered its worst ever electoral defeat in May and is reduced to just 44 seats in the Lok Sabha. It has also lost two key states – Maharashtra and Haryana where the party was in power for 15 years and 10 years respectively. “Today, what I find troubling is how we can condemn people because the ideas they treasure are not our own,” Rahul, the “future leader” of the Congress said.

The two-day conference attended by global leaders including Hamid Karzai, John Kufuor, Amre Moussa, Madhav Nepal adopted a declaration cautioning the world against “tendencies that are divisive or which create conflict in society”.

Anand Sharma, the secretary general of the conference, said the declaration has been endorsed by 27 countries and 34 organisations. He said Congress president Sonia Gandhi had also received messages from Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jingping, South African President Jacob Zuma and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheik Hasina among others.

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh lauded Nehru as a leader of great compassion and strong convictions.

“Political ideologies come and go, some with doubtful legacies and others with terrible consequences. Many ‘–isms’ have battled for our minds, but few have succeeded in touching our hearts,” Singh said.

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