Nehruvian legacy of secularism, socialism core beliefs: Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi, May 27: Faced with the party's worst-ever poll performance, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday said that "staunch secularism" and "socialist economics" were their "core beliefs" and noted that these values of Nehruvianism are being "fundamentally challenged by some in the prevailing political climate".

While the party encourages involvement of the private sector in wealth generation and economic growth, it remains "profoundly wedded to Nehru's concern for the weakest sections" of society, she said at an event to mark the 50th death anniversary of former Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.

The four pillars of Nehruvianism-- democratic institution -building, staunch secularism, socialist economics and a foreign policy of non-alignment-- that were integral to a vision of Indianness are being "fundamentally challenged by some in the prevailing political climate", she said while stressing that these still formed the core of Congress's beliefs.

Gandhi at the same time said she is not suggesting that Congress is stuck in a time warp and merely repeating the conventional wisdom of 50 years ago as "Nehru himself, as a man with an open and questioning mind, would have evolved with the times, even while remaining anchored in his core beliefs".

Her comments, indicating a left of the Centre tilt, comes at a time when Narendra Modi has assumed charge as Prime Minister of the country, heading a government which has a decisive majority of its own.

In the internal meetings of Congress, party leaders have maintained that corporates and the media fully backed BJP in the just-concluded Lok Sabha polls.

On secularism, Gandhi told the audience of mostly Congress leaders, including party Vice President Rahul Gandhi, that while Nehru strived to prevent partition, "when it occurred, he never accepted the logic that since Pakistan had ostensibly been created for India's Muslims, what remained was a state for Hindus".

"Nehru stood for an idea of India that embraced every religion, caste, ethnicity and language. Indian National Congress remains fundamentally rooted in such a conception of India," she added.


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