Indira Gandhi anniversary: Congress ok with govt dissociating

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New Delhi, Oct 30: Even as Shashi Tharoor attacked the government, his party Congress on Thursday saw nothing wrong in it delinking itself from Indira Gandhi's assassination anniversary and went to the extent of suggesting that the proposal had been first mooted by Sonia Gandhi.

Tharoor, who was sacked as Congress spokesman for his effusive praise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, today attacked the government for "ignoring the martyrdom" of Indira Gandhi, whose death anniversary falls tomorrow.

"Disgraceful that Govt is ignoring the martyrdom of our only Prime Minister who was killed in office in the line of duty. Oct 31 forgotten," tweeted Tharoor, who has otherwise been praising Modi for his Swachh Bharat campaign.

However, Congress general secretary in-charge of media communication Ajay Maken said Indira Gandhi cannot be overshadowed.

"No one can overshadow anyone's legacy. Both Sardar Patel and Indira Gandhi, on their own, have contributed to the country which the country can never forget. No single leader, no single government can ever make people forget the legacy and contribution of any such great leaders," he told reporters.

He said Congress chief Sonia Gandhi had herself suggested two years back that celebration and observance of anniversaries of leaders, except Mahatma Gandhi, should be left to respective political parties, trusts and societies.

"In August 2012, Congress President had herself written a letter to then Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) saying that among the various leaders for whom the birth and death anniversaries are (celebrated or observed), the government should celebrate or organise only for Mahatma Gandhi at Raj Ghat," Maken said.

"So I think Narendra Modi has taken a step in that direction. So we have nothing more to say on that," he said.

The government has also decided that it will associate only with the birth and death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The anniversaries of other departed leaders may be observed by respective trusts, parties, societies or supporters.

The Modi government has declared 31 October as "Rashtriya Ekta Diwas" (National Unity Day) to mark the birth anniversary of country's first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

There was no mention of Indira Gandhi in the government announcement though it is also the death anniversary of the former Prime Minister who was shot dead by her bodyguards in 1984.

PTI

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