All Key Posts Now Held By those From Humble Background, Says PM
I salute all who sacrificed everything & gave us a Constitution that ensures anybody can become President, PM, SC judge, says Azad
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that those holding the highest executive posts in the country today come from poor families who feel for the downtrodden. Modi’s remarks came during his welcome speech in the Rajya Sabha to felicitate vice-president M Venkaiah Naidu.
However, Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad countered the PM’s perceived barb at the Nehru-Gandhi family by hailing the contributions of Congress leaders Mahatma Gandhi, Motilal Nehru and his son Jawaharlal Nehru and others who sacrificed their wealth for India’s freedom.
“Venkaiah is the son of a farmer. I have had the good fortune of working with him for several years. He has minutely studied the issues concerning villages, the poor and farmers and keeps giving his input… These issues are dear to his heart because of his childhood and family background,” Modi said.
He applauded Naidu’s role in the JP Movement as a student leader and his long years in Parliament. “Our democracy is so matured today and the strength of the Constitution, given by our great men, is that all those who are occupying top constitutional offices (in the executive), come from poor, rural and ordinary families. They did not come from wealthy families. That people of such backgrounds are occupying the highest offices for the first time in its own way shows the dignity of the Constitution and the maturity of Indian democracy. Each of the 1.25 billion Indians is proud of this,” Modi said.
Azad recalled his long association with Naidu as a parliamentarian and recalled that despite differences over issues they got along well.
However, he underlined that there were several people on both sides of the political aisle who have come up from weak backgrounds.
“The biggest success of our democracy is that it is not a question of being rich or poor. There are many people in high posts today who were not zamindars, capitalists or whose family members were not wellread. They did not get many opportunities and rose to high posts with the toil and dedication. But behind all this is a force we should not forget and that is of our democracy and our Constitution. I salute crores of labourers, youth and the poor who made this possible. But I also salute those who were crorepatis, capitalists and zamindars at that time. I would like to mention Motilal Nehru here who was an advocate... Gandhiji’s family background was very good, he was a good lawyer. That is why he could go to South Africa to fight a case. He sacrificed clothes and he sacrificed his family. We should not forget those who were wealthy and well educated but sacrificed themselves, their wealth, their children and their family for the freedom of the country,” Azad said.
He said nobody can forget Jawaharlal Nehru, who spent 14-15 years in jail during the freedom movement. Azad also lauded the role of Subash Chandra Bose, Sardar Patel, Maulana Azad and Lokmanya Tilak in the freedom struggle. “These were people who were wealthy but sacrificed everything and gave us a Constitution that ensures that anybody can become President, vice-president, prime minister, a Supreme Court judge or the Army general. I salute all of them,” Azad said.