Whose Bapu? BJP, Congress caught in tussle over celebration of Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary

Both the ruling and opposition parties have asked their leaders tor observing October 2 in a grand way with plans for holding padyatras, meetings in villages, and hosting programmes on Bapu.

Published: 02nd October 2019 01:53 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd October 2019 11:20 AM   |  A+A-

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and PM Narendra Modi pay tribute to  Mahatma Gandhi on 150th birth Anniversary at Rajghat in New Delhi on Wednesday. | (Photo | Shekhar Yadav/EPS)

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and PM Narendra Modi pay tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on 150th birth Anniversary at Rajghat in New Delhi on Wednesday. | (Photo | Shekhar Yadav/EPS)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  The BJP and the Congress are caught in a battle to appropriate the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi as India commemorates the 150th birth anniversary of the legend revered for his message of non-violence.

In the fight to outdo each other as the true inheritor of Gandhian principles, both the ruling and opposition parties have asked their leaders to observe October 2 in a grand way with plans for holding padayatras, meetings in villages, and hosting programmes and talks related to the Father of the Nation. 

BJP working president JP Nadda wrote to party leaders to use the occasion as a chance to establish the BJP as the true inheritor of Gandhiji’s principles and establish how the Centre’s major schemes such as Ujjawala Yojna to connect with his ideals. 

A senior Congress leader observed that the BJP has only taken Gandhi’s glasses (read logo of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan) for publicity but failed miserably to imbibe any of his ideology.

ALSO READ | Congress to organise 'Padyatras' to redeem Gandhism and Gandhi's India

“The BJP and the central government have done everything contrary to the Gandhian teachings and whatever the Mahatma stood for. Barring high sounding schemes surrounding orchestrated events that aim only at electoral benefits, the very grain of this government is anti-poor, disadvantaged and the oppressed,” said the Congress party.

PM Narendra Modi has invoked Gandhi at multiple occasions including in the US. But the ruling party faced some awkward moments when Bhopal MP Pragya Singh Thakur praised Nathuram Godse as “patriot”.

ALSO READ | 'Will work hard to realise Bapu's dreams of creating better planet': PM pays homage to Mahatma

In a column, writer Ramachandra Guha sums the situation succinctly saying “as RSS pracharaks from the prime minister downwards line up to pay tribute to a man the RSS vilified in his lifetime, and for whom — in spite of all their posturings in public — they still have deep reservations, since he lived (and died) in the belief that India was not a Hindu country but belonged equally to people of all faiths.” 

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