Tributes to Nehru on 125th birth anniv
President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice-President Hamid Ansari and top leaders of the Congress on Friday paid rich tributes to country\'s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on his 125th birth anniversary, but no one from the NDA government was present at the event.
- No government representative present at the Congress event
- Rahul wishes children a happy, healthy and secure childhood
- ‘By not inviting PM, Cong proves Nehru event a family affair'
- ‘Nehruji belongs to the nation and not to any particular party’
New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice-President Hamid Ansari and top leaders of the Congress on Friday paid rich tributes to country's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on his 125th birth anniversary, but no one from the NDA government was present at the event.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi, party Vice President Rahul Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Sheila Dikshit and Shakeel Ahmed were among Congress leaders who paid floral tribute to Nehru at his memorial Shanti Van on the banks of Yamuna.
At the end of the ceremony, the dignitaries released tricolour balloons in the air amid playing of bands by students.
Though Union Ministers attended a number of functions to commemorate Nehru's birth anniversary, no government representative was present at the event in Shanti Van, in a break from convention.
At an event to commemorate Nehru's 125th birth anniversary, Congress had launched a sharp but veiled attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of seeking to destroy the secular vision of the first Prime Minister.
The Congress has been accusing Modi of appropriating the legacy of freedom movement leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel.
Nehru was born to Motilal Nehru and Swaroop Rani on November 14, 1889, in Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh and his birthday is celebrated as Children's Day in India as he was fond of kids.
Rahul Gandhi extended his greetings on Children's Day and wished children a happy, healthy and secure childhood. In a message, Gandhi said that every child should have an opportunity to learn and give expression to his/her skills.
"A very happy Children's Day to all. On this day, I wish for all our children a healthy, happy and secure childhood. A childhood in which each one has the opportunity to learn, to thrive and give expression to their own unique skills and talents, enriching our nation and all of humanity," Gandhi said.
Terming the function organised by Congress to commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of Nehru as "parivar ka function", Union Minister Jitendra Singh said it was not bothered if the Congress did not extend invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Singh said that by not inviting him to attend the international conference scheduled to mark the anniversary of the country's first Prime Minister, Congress has proven that it was their "family affair."
"It is their family affair and it is their (Congress) prerogative to whom they want to invite and whom not, as it is their Parivar ka Function (family function). If there is a function in your family, why should I be bothered if you don't invite me in it," Singh, Minister of State in the PMO, said.
He said that for the Modi-led government at the Centre, the "iconic leaders" were the pride of the country irrespective of their party affiliation.
President Pranab Mukherjee described Nehru as "the jewel of India" and said "India is what it is today because of Nehru". Union Minister Maneka Gandhi brushed aside Congress' criticism that the NDA government was trying to appropriate legacy of Jawaharlal Nehru, saying the nation's first Prime Minister belonged to the whole country and not to any political party. Launching nation-wide 'Bal Swachhata Abhiyan' on Children's Day, Gandhi, the Women and Child Development Minister, however, refused to comment on the controversy over Congress not inviting Modi to Nehru's birth anniversary celebration.
"Nehruji belongs to the country and not to any particular political party," she said, adding that she does not have a "comment to make" on Congress' decision not to invite Modi to an event .
On reports of non-BJP state governments not being enthusiastic enough in launching the Bal Swachhata Abhiyan, she said that it should not be treated as a party programme.