THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: On the occasion of the birth centenary fete of the late Indira Gandhi, posterity will remember she had laid her life only after defeating the forces from inside and outside to divide the country for a second time, in the name of Khalistan, said former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy here on Tuesday.
The memories of the late Prime Minister and stalwart Congress leader are a great inspiration and Kerala has paid a befitting tribute to her than any other state in the country by passionately observing her birth centenary up to the grassroots level in 24,400 booth committees, Chandy said, while inaugurating a meet organised by the KPCC.
People are fully aware of the contributions made by Indira Gandhi to the nation and the party.
“After Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, it was Indira who had etched the name of India in the comity of world nations,” he said. Chandy said Congress had faced many ups and downs, victories and setbacks.
“Political experts had predicted after the rout of the Congress in the elections held in 1978 that the era of the party was over. But Indira needed only less than three years to win back the confidence of the masses, as she reached out to them, apologised for all excesses committed during Emergency and came back to power to prove all doomsayers wrong,” he said.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala described Indira Gandhi as one of the strongest administrators the world had ever seen. “The struggles from childhood had moulded her to sincerely work for the uplift of the poor and downtrodden in the country, also emphasizing where the empathy of the Congress was,” he said.
Ramesh recalled his personal proximity with the late leader and said he was one of the beneficiaries of Indira’s commitment to bring up youngsters into the political arena and public life.
Referring to the Congress debacle in post-Emergency general elections and how the party came back like a hurricane in just two-and-a-half years’ time, Ramesh said Narendra Modi and the BJP also needn’t have any notion on that score.
“None ever thought the Congress will be uprooted in the 1978 polls. The Indian electorate have an unpredictable record by aptly and clearly responding to divisive and anti-democratic practices as well as acts of intolerance. Come 2019 general elections, the going will be really tough for Modi and team,” he said.
“The Congress will have to play a big role in forging unity among all democratic and secular forces,” he said.
The Opposition leader said Narendra Modi hadn’t uttered even a word on the attack against Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in Gujarat so far. “Modi doesn’t have any respect for the Opposition, Parliament or democratic norms. How long he can steamroll democracy by engineering defections and overthrowing state governments?” he asked. The downslide of the BJP government has begun, he said.
In his presidential address, KPCC president M M Hassan said the life and times of Indira Gandhi is a textbook and the late Prime minister is a role model for all generations to come. “She was one who had overcome many a crisis in her personal and political life in a big way. She stood by the poor, secular values, for all inclusive economic growth and conservation of the environment.
She was always pilloried in the name of Emergency, but critics conveniently forget she had opted for general elections after 19 months, as a true democrat and after ensuring economic and political stability in the country. Had she been an autocrat, she would not have faced the electorate and lost the polls,” he said. Litterateur George Onakkoor delivered the keynote address. Former KPCC president K Muraleedharan, vice-president V D Satheesan, MLAs V P Sajeendran, Anwar Sadath and K S Sabarinathan, former minister Pandalam Sudhakaran, Benny Behanan, Thampanoor Ravi, T Saratchandra Prasad and DCC president Neyyatinkara Sanal were present.