Days after the ruling BJP held grand celebrations on the birth anniversary of ‘Iron man’ Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, it’s the Congress party’s turn to showcase its political clout. The Congress party formally kicked off a two-day long international conference to commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru amid much fanfare on Monday.
“In 1947, India was a new born state, in turmoil after partition. Pandit Nehru brought stability and hope. Jawaharlal Nehru was one of the most towering figures of the 21st century. Ideas that Pandit Nehru stood remains relevant today. Knowledge about Nehru’s life and work has weakened in recent years,” said Sonia Gandhi.
Barring the NDA allies, the Congress has invited various ‘like-minded’ political parties from within the country and leaders from abroad for the two-day long international conference on Nehru. TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa and JD( U) leader Nitish Kumar, RJD led by Lalu Prasad Yadav, RLD, JD(S) and leaders of the Samajwadi Party have been invited to the conference..
CPM leader Sitaram Yechury, RLD chief Ajit Singh and JD(U)’s KC Tyagi have confirmed their presence at the event. Conspicuously, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s name doesn’t feature in the list of invitees.
As per reports, leaders from at least 52 countries have been invited to participate in the conference, The world leaders who have arrived are President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai, former president of Ghana John Kufour, former President of Nigeria Obasanzo, former Prime Minister of Nepal Sher Bahadur Deuba, Queen Mother of Bhutan Majesty Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, human rights activist from Pakistan Asma Jehangir.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi is leading the Congress delegation in the conference. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi opened the conference whereas former PM Manmohan Singh will make closing remarks.
BJP has been criticising the Congress for its decision not to invite the Prime Minister, which it says “reflected the narrow-mindedness of the party”and is a “disrespect to the nation”. Meanwhile, Congress has also attacked PM Modi in the recent past for attempting to destroy Nehru’s secular vision. The Congress leadership has earlier also slammed the Prime Minister for playing politics on the legacy of great leaders of India’s freedom movement like Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel.