The Congress on Monday vowed to fight attempts to “trivialise” the sacrifices of freedom fighters and “distort” historical facts for political gains, as the opposition party marked the 76th Independence Day with flag hoisting and a march by senior leaders here. Congress Working Committee member Ambika Soni unfurled the national flag in the presence of former party president Rahul Gandhi and other senior leaders at the AICC headquarters as party chief Sonia Gandhi is suffering from COVID-19.
Top leaders including Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Soni, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma and K C Venugopal were joined by hundreds of workers in a march from the party headquarters to Gandhi Smriti on Tees January Road as part of its Azadi Gaurav Yatra. In her Independence Day message, Sonia Gandhi said the Congress will strongly oppose any misrepresentation of historical facts and every attempt to put great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Abul Kalam Azad in the dock based on falsehood for “political gains”.
“Friends, we have achieved a great deal in the last 75 years, but today’s self-obsessed government is bent on trivialising the great sacrifices of our freedom fighters and the glorious achievements of the country, which can never be accepted,” Gandhi said.
Gandhi’s attack came a day after the BJP released a video narrating its version of events that led to India’s partition in 1947 in which it appeared to blame the top Congress leadership of that time. The Modi government had declared August 14 as Partition Horrors Remembrance Day. The Congress also hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his Independence Day address, saying he has let the country down by not giving the expected “report card” on the promises he made in the last eight years.
Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera also took a swipe at Modi over his remarks against nepotism, claiming he was talking about the internal politics of the BJP and attacking his ministers whose sons are occupying high positions in the fields of cricket and politics despite not having the expertise. The flag-hoisting ceremony at the AICC headquarters was attended by Rahul Gandhi, who was flanked by senior Congress leaders Azad and Anand Sharma, Jairam Ramesh, party treasurer Pawan Kumar Bansal and veteran leader Mohsina Kidwai, among others.
Congress workers raised slogans like “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”, “Amar Shaheedon Tumhe Naman” and “Rahul Tum Sangharsh Karo Hum Tumhare Sath hai” during the march. When asked about Modi’s Independence Day address, Rahul Gandhi said, “I will not comment on the prime minister’s speech but I wish everyone a Happy Independence Day.” Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said that there is a need to protect our Constitution and culture.
Khera claimed that Prime Minister Modi’s speech lacked energy and emotions. “The country was expecting that the prime minister would present a report card of his eight years in power. It is sad that the prime minister disappointed the entire country today.
“In his speech, he did not talk about his hollow promises like doubling farmers’ income, providing employment, etc,” Khera told reporters at AICC headquarters. Modi on Monday said the major challenges before the country are nepotism and dynasty, and corruption, asserting that “we have to fight” against these together.
Addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the 76th Independence Day, Modi described nepotism as an “evil” and urged the people to rally behind him in the fight against the menace. “We need to give opportunities to those who are talented and will work for the nation’s progress. Talent will be the basis of New India,” he said.
“When I talk about nepotism and dynasty, people think I am talking about politics only. No, unfortunately, this evil of politics has nurtured nepotism in every institution,” Modi said in his speech.