New Delhi, Nov 18: The battle over the legacy of Jawaharlal Nehru escalated on Tuesday with Congress slamming those trying to "rub him out and erase him" from history and accusing Narendra Modi government of "putting obstacles at every step" in organising an international conference on him.
Speaking at the conncluding session of the two-day international meet, Rahul Gandhi said that the ideas and politics of India's first Prime Minister are very much relevant today.
"Even though there are those who wish to rub him out, to erase him and his legacy from the country he so dearly treasured and helped build," the Congress Vice President said adding that this legacy that has denied no man or woman their voice "and that we have preserved for close to 70 years is more important than ever."
Party President Sonia Gandhi, who had on Monday said that Nehru's ideas were under threat from "misrepresentation and distortion", today said that as the Nehruvian concepts have come under challenge now, "we must not only adhere to what Nehru had built, we must also fight and fight to strengthen democracy, inclusiveness and secularism."
As the Jawaharlal Nehru Commemorative International Conference concluded today, Secretary General for the event and senior Congress leader Anand Sharma alleged that the government put all kinds of obstacles in the organization of the conference.
Sonia Gandhi said that Nehru's ideas were a "matter of shared interest"
"This government did not want the Conference to take place. We were denied the venue Vigyan Bhavan on Nov 14 (birth anniversary of Nehru) when it was not being used (by anybody).
"We did not get cooperation. A little circular went out from here to (Indian) embassies telling them if world leaders called them, ask them to contact the Congress directly. The aim was to dissuade them from coming. There were many other difficulties", said Sharma, a former Union Minister.
At the conference, which also adopted a declaration, Sonia Gandhi said that Nehru's ideas were a "matter of shared interest" that concern all sections. She said the declaration reaffirms a collective commitment to nurture these views.
"We the delegates representing 20 countries, 29 political parties and organisations participating in the international conference on Nehru's world view and his legacy caution the world against tendencies that are divisive or which create conflict in the society," the declaration read by former President of Ghana John Kufuor said.