Amid controversy over excluding first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in the Karnataka government’s newspaper advertisement on freedom fighters, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Monday took a dig at the Congress and said he is proud of the RSS’ ideals and bowed his head to its patriotism. Clarifying that he and his government respects Nehru, using whose name Congress ruled the country for 65 years, he said and accused the grand old party of neglecting other national icons like B R Ambedkar and Lal Bahadur Shastri.
”In the government’s advertisement yesterday, we had mentioned about some freedom fighters, who were even never heard of before with their photos, no one spoke good about it, instead of it, they (Congress) are sad that one of their leader’s names was missing,” Bommai said.
Speaking at a BJP event to commemorate 75th anniversary of India’s independence, he said, ”We haven’t forgotten him and his works. We have respect for Nehru. In fact , there is a picture of him in that ad.” ”Some one said, Bommai has become an RSS slave, I want to tell that I bow down my head to its (RSS) ideals and principles and that patriotism. I’m committed to build the country on those ideals and principles and I’m proud of it,” he said.
The Congress on Sunday took strong exception to the exclusion of Nehru in the newspaper advertisement on freedom fighters and termed the BJP government’s action ”pathetic”.
Former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah had called Bommai an ”RSS slave”, while AICC general secretary and in-charge of the party affairs in the state Randeep Surjewala had said the BJP’s hatred for the country’s first prime minister had reached its zenith.
State BJP General Secretary N Ravi Kumar, had however, said Nehru’s name was omitted ”intentionally”, as he was responsible for the partition of the country.
The Chief Minister further hit out at the Congress, accusing it of not allowing B R Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution, to come to Parliament, and neglecting his memory for years.
Further pointing out that the families of several national icons like Subash Chandra Bose, Mahatma Gandhi, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Ambedkar are today not in mainstream politics, without naming anyone, he said those people who got politically benefited because of the freedom struggle will have to answer about the ill things that exist today like- appeasement politics.
Stating that no one can change the history of the freedom struggle, Bommai said, ”but those writing history have tried to change it for 75 years. Now the time has come to speak out the truth and make people know the truth. We have got freedom because of the sacrifice of thousands of unnamed youth, farmers, labourers.” This 75th anniversary of India’s Independence should be dedicated to the unnamed freedom fighters of the country, he said.
Earlier in the day, in his address at the 76th Independence Day event at the Manekshaw Parade Ground here, the Chief Minister, taking a veiled dig at the Congress, pointed out at attempts to ”forget” national icons like Ambedkar, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Abdul Ghaffar Khan among others.
He also said that all Prime Ministers so far and leaders of the country have contributed to India’s progress in their own way, and there is no question of forgetting anyone.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set up a Prime Ministers’ Museum in New Delhi to highlight each one’s contribution, Bommai further said ”If any Prime Minister had thought about making known the contributions of various PMs to the country it is Modi. There is no question of forgetting anyone here. Everyone has contributed in their own way. Only PMs have not contributed, there are several luminaries who have contributed.”