In a hard-hitting speech in the Rajya Sabha in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,
Ghulam Nabi Azad
Attacking the BJP for not acknowledging the contributions of leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru in making of the Constitution, Congress on Thursday said this attitude reflected the ruling party’s intolerance which flows from the top to the streets.The main opposition party in Rajya Sabha also accused the BJP of trying to appropriate the icons of India’s freedom struggle without having such a leader of its own and trying to “manufacture a clash” between these famous personalities. “You can talk about German Constitution, its dictator … but you feel ashamed to talk about (Jawaharlal) Nehru. … You are not able to recognise the contribution of first Prime Minister …. This is called intolerance. It flows from the top and percolates down to the streets,” Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said while participating in a debate on the commitment to the Constitution and B R Ambedkar.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a hard-hitting speech in the Rajya Sabha in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Azad accused the ruling dispensation of attempting to “manufacture a clash” between the personas of freedom struggle like Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Sardar Patel and Nehru on the lines of the “divide and rule” policy. Azad referred to Leader of the House Arun Jaitley’s speech and said it became clear to him that the discussion on Ambedkar and commitment towards the Constitution was actually a “shield to take aim at other targets.”He said Jaitley had referred to Hitler and not acknowledged Nehru, which made it clear that “nazar kahin thi, nishana kahin tha”. Ghulam Nabi Azad Leader of opposition Those who don’t have icons who took part in freedom struggle are trying to appropriate others,” he said, adding that Ambedkar, Bose, Nehru, Prasad, Maulana Azad cannot be appropriated and “will always belong to the people of the country”.Taking a jibe at the RSS-BJP, he said there were a lot of people belonging to “a parivar” who did not agree with the Constitution and “it is good if they also show their commitment. Der aaye, durust aaye (better late than never)”.As Azad questioned the procedures adhered to by the government in celebrating the Constitution Day, Jaitley stood up and asked why was there a “grudging feeling” in acknowledging Ambedkar’s contribution. Continuing his attack on the Modi government, Azad said that a tree laden with fruit bends. “If it does not bend, then there is something wrong with its DNA,” Azad said. He congratulated the writers and artistes who had “stood up against intolerance and injustice” and said that numerous “disturbing” incidents had taken place across several states in the last one and a half years. Azad said several incidents had happened in states like Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Haryana and UP due to the prevailing situation of intolerance. In one such case, the arm of a person was cut because he was dining with an upper caste youth, the Congress leader said, holding the ruling party responsible for it.Azad said he was greatly inspired by Ambedkar and added that people who found inspiration in freedom fighters, who left their comfortable lives and spent years in jail, were always committed to Constitution. He claimed that the Congress only “manufactured harmony” which was what leaders like Gandhi, Nehru, Patel, Maulana Azad had taught. In his speech, Azad also raised procedural questions related to declaring November 26 as Constitution Day, saying that the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment had come out with a notification on it, though the matter fell in the realm of the Ministry of Home Affairs.This notification is “null and void”, he claimed and added that there were more improprieties like CBSE issuing an order to schools to celebrate this day, even before the notification had been issued. Azad also emphasised that the Constitution aimed to bridge the divide between rich and poor adding that social justice was a priority. It was also envisaged that every person should have freedom to practice their religion and freedom of opportunity.He also praised Ambedkar’s determination saying despite facing discrimination, he went on to acquire the best of education to become one of the leading visionaries of his time, adding that several problems that governments are dealing with now, were envisaged by Ambedkar way back.