Ghulam Nabi Azad counters PM Modi on 'poor background' remark

Claudine Rigal
Août 13, 2017

Azad took the example of Motilal Nehru, father of country's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who sacrified riches for the country.

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Friday virtually countered Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the contributions of not only the poor, but even well-off persons like Motilal Nehru who gave up their riches for the freedom struggle, can not be forgotten.

Calling it the maturity of the Indian democracy and strength of the Constitution that helps people from humble and rural background occupy the highest constitutional positions in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday welcomed vice president Venkaiah Naidu as Rajya Sabha chairman. Though Mr Azad did not refer to Mr Modi's remarks but his own remarks were seen as a counter to the Prime Minister's statement. Mr Azad said the country can not forget the contributions made by the rich who gave up their wealth for the country and spent years in jail for participating in the freedom struggle.

Azad said the rise of grassroot-level persons like Sitaram Yechury and Naidu to high positions was the biggest achievement of democracy and many who weren't landlords or educated families had reached the zenith of their profession. Speaking immediately after him, Azad said Nehru was a big lawyer who earned Rs 7-10 crore in today's currency terms but gave away his wealth. Mahatma Gandhi too was a big lawyer who gave away even his clothes and family for the country, he said. "Those who were well-off and educated, who gave up their riches, families and children for freedom of India", he said and went on to name Sardar Patel, Subhash Chandra Bose, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Maulana Azad.

Disturbed by what it said was the Prime Minister's caricaturing of outgoing Vice President Hamid Ansari, Congress made a decision to pay close attention to Narendra Modi's speech and post an extempore rejoinder on the last day of monsoon session of Parliament. Emphasising that the seat of the Rajya Sabha chairman calls for doing equal justice to all, Azad said the traditional practice of the House to not pass any bill in the din should be upheld in all circumstances.

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