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Nehru Legacy: Only People ‘Believe in Democracy’ Invited, says Anand Sharma

After being questioned the invitation of Modi for the international conference organised by Congress to commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, the party spokesperson Anand Sharma said they have only invited “All those who truly believe in democracy and the ideals of Nehru.”

When Sharma was asked if Modi was invited for the conference, he replied, "We have not given any invitation to the Prime Minister. We have invited all those who truly believe in democracy and the ideals of Nehru."

After a congress source revealed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not been invited to the conference, there were allegations that while Congress gets prepared to invite all world leaders and party members, it has not invited Modi for the event.

Sharma said that the conference will discuss Nehru’s view on democracy, inclusion, empowering India and representative global order. "It will provide a platform to reflect on Nehru’s worldview and legacy in the context of contemporary global challenges of 21st century," he said.

Meanwhile, the party highlighted BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s praise on Nehru. “We are acknowledging all those who have said something meaningful. As a political party, we have our freedom to decide who subscribes to Nehru’s views.”

While ahead of the conference, the Congress prepares for a function in Delhi’s Talkatora Stadium to kick-off the year-long celebrations on Nehru’s birthday on November 14, where party president Sonia Gandhi will administer a pledge to party workers to uphold and reaffirm the Nehruvian vision. However, according to reports, Modi government has also prepared events to celebrate Nehru’s birthday on November 14.

Amid the tussle between BJP and Congress regarding Nehru’s legacy, Congress criticised the Modi government, alleging that the party had ignored late PM Indira Gandhi’s martyrdom day while it celebrated Sardar Vallavbhai Patel’s birthday on October 31.

Meanwhile, Sharma accused Modi and BJP of trying to appropriate legacy freedom fighters belonging to the Congress "without subscribing to their values". He claimed, "This government, beginning from the Prime Minister to others, is trying to usurp the legacy of leaders of our freedom movement and our leaders without subscribing to their views."

However, in the absence of Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh is expected to kick-start the 125th anniversary from Nehru’s birthday. Modi had earlier announced that in order to mark children’s day as well as the celebration of Nehru’s 125th birth anniversary, “Bal Swachhta Mission” will be organised in schools.

According to reports, 55 world leaders are invited for the conference in which Congress President Sonia Gandhi will chair the conference whereas vice president Rahul Gandhi will lead the party delegation. The conference will be held at Vigyan Bhavan from November 17.

(With inputs from IANS)

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