JAMMU: Facing Congress ire for "usurping" the legacy of its icons, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today deprecated "untouchablity" in politics while commemorating the birth centenary of veteran state Congress leader Girdhari Lal Dogra, father-in-law of Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
Dogra, who presented a record 26 budgets as Jammu and Kashmir's Finance Minister, was described as a "24 carat Congressman" by senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad at a function here for which Modi flew in here for a short visit.
Modi said that in public life it does not matter so much as to with what party one was connected, what ideology one espoused and under whose leadership one worked.
"Let us not divide our legacy. Everybody in public life works with some ideology in his lifetime but he lives and dies for the country. It is not for us, who are from the later generations, to create disputes," he said.
Modi's comments assume significance as ever since he became the Prime Minister in June last year, he has been accused by Congress of trying to "usurp" the legacy of its national icons like Sardar Patel, Lal Bahadur Shastri, B R Ambedkar and Subhash Chandra Bose.
Recently the BJP also sought to associate itself with late K Kamaraj, a former Congress President, hailing him as a national leader who had opposed Emergency and drew parallels between him and Modi.
Insisting that division of national heritage is a matter of concern, Modi said, "For us, all of them (national leaders) are great persons, who worked for the country are respectable and to be proud of. There should not be any untouchability about it.
"Whether he was in Congress or BJP, whether Prime Minister should have come or not? The question is not that. Yes he (PM) must come because the particular person has sacrificed his youth for for the nation. Our legacies should not be divided."
The Prime Minister also chose the occasion to criticise dynastic politics by citing the example of Dogra, who did not bring his family into public life despite being such a tall leader for so long.
An advocate by profession, Dogra was born in a small Bhaiya village in Kathua district and rose to national prominence. He died on November 27, 1987.