Rahul takes dig at government on Rajiv Gandhi’s birth anniversary (Roundup)

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New Delhi, Aug 20 (IANS) Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday made a veiled attack on the Narendra Modi government’s policies, saying there were people in India today who “actively promote disharmony, who humiliate and separate, who isolate and kill”.

Gandhi was speaking at an event here in which renowned singer Shubha Mudgal was awarded the Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavna Award to mark the 72nd birth anniversary of the former Prime Minister.

Events were also held in different parts of the country to mark the anniversary.

Rahul Gandhi said his late father worked in politics to create harmony in the lives of people.

“Shubha ji has used her art to bring millions of people together. Her songs have broken barriers and brought harmony to the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. My father Rajiv Gandhi did the same in politics. He carried millions of people together, bringing India closer and allowing it to imagine a collective dream,” the Congress leader said.

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He said India has achieved what it has precisely because millions of people have chosen to live in harmony together. “India in harmony with itself is musical,” Gandhi said.

“Unfortunately, there are also those that prefer a divided and divisive India, out of tune with itself and the world. They seek to spread disharmony. These are the forces that wish to break the bonds between us. There are, unfortunately in India today, men and women who actively promote disharmony, who humiliate and separate, who isolate and kill,” the Congress Vice-President added.

He said these people may feel they were thriving in India today but the Congress was “proud to honour you (Shubha) and the many millions like you, who stand for everyone.”

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“We honour musicians like yourself Shubha ji, like my father and like millions of Indians, who have rid their hearts of fear and hatred. People who are able to see that as Indians we are all one. We will honour them here today and we will continue to honour them every single day,” he said.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also spoke on the occasion.

The Sadbhavna Award is traditionally given by Congress President Sonia Gandhi but she was not present as she is recuperating after undergoing a medical procedure at a hospital here.

Rahul Gandhi earlier in the day paid tributes to his father in a tweet.

“Remembering Rajivji today. His vision, his values and his deep commitment to the people remain our inspiration,” he said.

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He also distributed vehicles to differently-abled youths at an event at Jawahar Bhavan here.

President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice-President Hamid Ansari were among those who paid floral tributes to Rajiv Gandhi at the Vir Bhumi memorial.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also tweeted to pay his tributes.

“Remembering former PM Rajiv Gandhi ji on his birth anniversary,” Modi said.

Rajiv Gandhi, born on August 20, 1944, served as the sixth Prime Minister of India from 1984 to 1989.



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