Tributes paid to Gandhi and tri-colour designer Pingali Venkaiah

“Brotherhood, brotherhood, and brotherhood,” were the concluding words of the keynote address given by AICC secretary in-charge of AP affairs and Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad at the Vande Gandhiyam sammelan organised by the Gandhi Global Family here on Sunday.

The Union Minister's words assumed significance, considering his latest role as a trouble shooter for the Centre in the current standoff over the separate Telangana issue in Andhra Pradesh.

The event at the Indira Gandhi Municipal Corporation Stadium here in the evening marked the 142nd birth anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi and 92 years since he visited Vijayawada for the first time.

The GGF aimed at spreading peace and non-violence all over the world for which the Father of the Nation stood, said Mr. Azad.

Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, APCC president Botcha Satyanarayana, MPs Lagadapati Rajagopal, Vundavalli Arun Kumar, and K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao, and Union Minister Panabaka Lakshmi were present.

Recalling a Gandhian thought, Mr. Azad said hatred was spreading fast and all religions had their truthful and erroneous sides, but the prayer one should say should be: “Let a Hindu become a better Hindu, a Muslim a better Muslim and so on. Unite, work together, respect each other, and brotherhood should overcome considerations of caste, communalism, and other such issues.”

Gandhian spirit

In a subtle message earlier, Mr. Rajagopal said that Gandhi achieved freedom for India without using any weapon and the true Gandhian spirit involved using a torch to provide beneficent light to people and not in lighting a match stick to destroy one's own house.

In his brief speech, Mr. Kiran Kumar Reddy recalled the words of Gandhi that fruits of welfare programmes should reach the needy. In that spirit, the government launched the Re. 1-a-kg rice scheme to ensure food security and Indira Jala Prabha to help meet irrigation needs of 10 lakh SC and ST farmers.

Before the sammelan, Mr. Azad, Mr. Kiran Kumar Reddy, and other VIPs paid floral tributes at the statues of Gandhi and National Flag designer Pingali Venkaiah at Victoria Jubilee Museum.

They also flagged off and participated in a rally carrying a unique 1,300-metre-long National Flag in which hundreds of school students took part from the museum to the IGMC Stadium.