New Delhi: At the launch of a book on former prime minister Chandra Shekhar, PM Narendra Modi hit out at those who have a habit of tarnishing the image of great leaders once they leave office. He raised the concern in light of the youth of the country not knowing the contributions of former PMs of the country.
“Every prime minister has his/her own contribution. However, there is a coterie of people who have created adverse images of greats like Dr Ambedkar and Sardar Patel. They called them names. Had Lal Bahadur Sashtri returned alive from Tashkent, this group of people would have tarnished his image as well. This same coterie destroyed the image of Morarji Bhai,” he said.
Modi said this coterie of people deliberately created labels, narratives and titles for the former PMs and blamed them for putting the contributions of many of these leaders into oblivion.
Announcing his government’s plan to build a museum dedicated to all former prime ministers, he said, “We have decided to honour all former PMs and their contribution. We will have a grand and modern museum for them. I request the families of all former PMs to please contribute items from their lives to the museum. We want future generations to remember them. Regardless of which political party they belong to, every PM’s contributions will be noted,” he said.
‘Chandra Shekhar: The Last Icon of Ideological Politics’, written by Harivansh, Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, and Ravi Dutt Bajpai, was released by Modi in the national capital in the presence of Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad.
Chandra Shekhar was the eighth PM of India between November 1990 and June 1991. He headed a minority government of a breakaway faction of the Janata Dal, supported by the Congress.
Although his government was largely seen as a puppet government, Modi heaved praises on his contributions — both ideological and political. He said the former PM had his ideological differences with the BJP and Jana Sangh, but he still respected every opinion.
“In today’s political life, staying alive in memory and mind is difficult. People forget, politicians and friends forget them too. They are lost in the pages of history,” he said. “But, even after 12 years of his demise, the former PM is alive among us,” Modi added.
Among notable contributions of Chandra Shekhar, the august gathering at the launch remembered his long march from Kanyakumari to Delhi. “He undertook the journey to understand the problems of the common man. A politician must be surrounded by people and he understood that,” said Naidu.
The former PM was a fearless man who led life with principles, and maintained “decorum and dignity even when he did not hold office,” the Vice President added.
While referring to the long march, Modi said, “Today, a small-time politician gains popularity by making a stunt. But, Chandra Shekhar walked the distance keeping in mind the poor. India has not given enough credit to his contributions,” he said.
He added that if Chandra Shekhar’s contribution is reviewed and given a fresh perspective, the latter can inspire millions. “Young people can be moved by the democratic principles that Chandra Shekhar led his life by,” the PM said.