Rajiv Didn’t Use Massive Poll Mandate to Create Fear: Sonia Gandhi
Former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi had a massive poll mandate in 1984 but he did not use it to create an atmosphere of fear, threaten and scare people or destroy institutions, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said on Thursday, 22 August, in an apparent criticism of the Modi government.
Addressing an event marking Rajiv Gandhi's 75th birth anniversary, she also said the challenges facing the Congress now are formidable, but it must continue with its ideological struggle against "divisive forces".
He did not use that power to destroy the independence of institutions, trample on dissent and divergent views and create dangers for democratic traditions, she said, in her first public address after taking over as the Congress' interim president earlier this month.
Her remarks assume significance as they come after senior Congress leader and former Union finance minister P Chidambaram was arrested by the CBI in connection with the INX Media case, with the grand old party accusing the government of using central agencies such as the CBI and the ED as personal "revenge-seeking departments".
Listing out achievements made during Rajiv Gandhi's tenure as prime minister, Sonia Gandhi said he had taken the first step towards liberalisation of the economy and globalising it but was aware that if India has to make a place in the global arena, it had to ensure inclusive growth.
This work could not have been achieved by showing arrogance, by merely raising slogans, but through hard work and character, she said in an apparent attack at the present dispensation.
"In 1989, the Congress did not get a majority on its own, so he (Rajiv Gandhi) politely accepted the mandate of the people. I want to tell the present generation that despite (Congress) being the single-largest party at the time, he did not lay claim to power. This was because his inner moral force and honesty did not allow him to do so," Sonia Gandhi said.