In a sharp attack on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Centre, the Shiv Sena on Sunday, 5 September, said that the 'long-term vision' of the late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru saved the country from the current economic disaster that it is reeling under, and that the present government is now enjoying selling the national assets he had created.
"The BJP government may have differences with Sonia Gandhi, Rahul or Priyanka, but why this hatred for Nehru? The institutions created by Nehru are being sold by the present government to give a fillip to the economy," said Sena MP and Chief Spokesperson Sanjay Raut.
His comments came after the dropping of photos of India's first Prime Minister Nehru and the country's first Education Minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad from a promotional advertisement released by the Union Education Ministry's Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) on the 75th year celebrations of India's Independence, sparking a row recently.
'Government Having Fun Selling Off National Assets Created by Nehru': Raut
Dwelling on Nehru's nation-building legacy, Raut asserted that "the government is now having fun selling off the national assets created by him, otherwise the country would be starving, people would be jobless and there would have anarchy."
"You should be forever indebted to Nehru but instead, you have wiped out his very role in the Freedom Movement. Why so much animosity towards Nehru. You must reply to the country," Raut said.
Slamming the Central government for the act in his weekly column 'Rokthok' in the party newspaper Saamna, Raut said without the contributions of Nehru and Azad, the history of Indian Freedom Movement "will never be complete".
"Only those who cannot make history consider it a bravado to erase the history of others. Those who kept far away from and never participated in the Freedom Struggle are now trying to keep out one of the heroes of the Independence Movement. This is not proper," he said.
"You may have political differences with Nehru's party (Congress), or his politics or his domestic and foreign policies. But to remove his contributions to the country's freedom struggle in this manner is an insult to each freedom-fighter," Raut added without mincing words.
He said that in the same vindictive vein, the government renamed the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, but the contributions of Nehru and Indira Gandhi to the Indian Independence are "immortal", and asked what the country hopes to gain by this.
Raut Lauds Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin
In this context, he lauded the political magnanimity displayed recently by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin as an "exemplary act of love, sympathy and respect for political opponents."
Raut said that when he took over as CM, Stalin was confronted with the issue of 6.5 million schoolbags to be distributed free to students, but had the photos of the former CMs the late J Jayalalitha and E Palaniswamy who was voted out in May 2021.
"When asked by his officials what to do with the bags, CM Stalin categorically said the scheme should not stop because of the photos (Jayalalitha and Palaniswamy), and must be immediately disbursed to the children. He said the state would save Rs 15 crore which can be used in the war against coronavirus," Raut pointed out.
This is the same CM whose father (the late CM M Karuranidhi) was dragged out of his home by Jalalalitha's policemen at the dead of the night and arrested, but Stalin showed a cultured and mature behaviour to forget the old hatred in the state's interest, and Raut urged "all political parties to take a lesson from this."