Thrissur: Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Saturday hit out at Narendra Modi, saying the Prime Minister’s one point objective is to “completely debunk” Jawaharlal Nehru.
He also asked the Left parties to join the Congress at a platform to “rediscover” Nehru and use Nehruvian thoughts and approach to check communal forces in the country.
“…Nehru continues to be relevant, Nehru continues to be written about, continues to be debated. But Narendra Modi’s one point objective is to completely debunk and delegitimise Jawaharlal Nehru. That is BJP’s one point agenda — to delegitimise Nehru,” Ramesh said at a public discourse.
The Rajya Sabha MP said Modi, who assumed charge as Prime Minister nine months ago, has never mentioned the word Jawaharlal Nehru.
“Not once… Vajpayee was not like that. Now, I have to say something positive about Advani… Advani was not like that…
“If you destroy the Nehruvian legacy, you destroy the idea of India,” the former Union Minister said. He said Nehru was more than an individual who stood for a certain vision.
He told the programme, also attended by CPI (M) MP P Rajeeve and CPI leader Binoy Viswam, that “this is a most crucial juncture in our political history” and asked the Left parties to support the Congress which is at a “historic juncture”.
“The country was looking to the Congress. With the support of all of you, I am sure that we will find a way forward…”
Ramesh warned that India is in danger of becoming an “illiberal democracy”.
“There are two types of democracies — a liberal democracy and an illiberal democracy. Jawaharlal Nehru created a liberal democracy. Atal Bihari Vajpayee believed in a liberal democracy. But today you have an environment where the supreme leader (Modi) believes in illiberal democracy,” he said.
“Political parties have been there. Parliament will meet, but the approach is one of authoritarian nowadays. The space for alternative point of view is shrinking,” Ramesh said.
He also cited the incident of Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai’s offloading from a London-bound plane by authorities at New Delhi airport recently.
“If a 28-year-old girl, Priya Pillai is offloaded from a plane going to London and be termed as anti-national…for doing what? For raising concerns of environmental consequences of coal mining. She was not committing a crime,” he said.