Sonia lauds Shastri ji's example of moral responsibility

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New Delhi, Mar 7 (UNI) United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi today lauded the example of 'moral responsibility' in public life displayed by former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri.

Unveling the bust of the former Prime Minister at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Memorial Trust here, the AICC president said the late leader is remembered by his goodness and simplicity. When he was the Railway Minister, he stepped down after a train mishap in South India. ''Following his resignation, the then Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru referred to him as the best comrade and collegue one could get,'' she reminded the audience, which included Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit.

Ms Gandhi also inaugurated the Lal Bahadur Shastri Research Centre for Public Policy and Social Change. She hoped that the centre would emerge as as an important institution for research and encourage the youth.

Ms Gandhi was also presented with a copy of a case study on the effect of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme on rural populace in Uttar Pradesh. The study has been carried out by the Lal Bahadur Shastri research centre for public policy and social change.

Four districts of UP -- Unnao, Sitapur, Rae Bareli and Sultanpur -- were taken up for the study. While Amethi, the parliamentaty constituency of AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi, is part of Sultanpur district, Ms Gandhi represents Rae Bareli in Lok Sabha.

Speaking on the occasion, Union Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni said the new research centre would highlight the values and ideals for which Shastri Ji struggled as a freedom fighter and public figure.

Former Prime Minister's son and holding trustee of the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Memorial Trust Anil Shastri informed Ms Gandhi that the only overcoat Shastri ji had was presented by Jawahar Lal Nehru just before the former's visit to Jammu and Kashmir as a Union Minister. ''It is perhaps the only coat worn by two prime ministers belonging to separate families,'' he added.

In his address, the former prime minister's another son Sunil Shastri requested Ms Sonia to release further funds for the memorial trust at the earliest.

UNI NAB SHB AS1846

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