Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday targeted the government on issue of intolerance alleging that ideals and principles of the Constitution were under threat and being attacked deliberately.
“People who never had faith in the Constitution, nor had they participated in its drafting, are now swearing by it and are laying claim to it.
“They are now having a discussion on commitment to it. There cannot be a bigger joke than this,” she said, utilising the discussion in the Lok Sabha on the commitment to the Constitution as part of 125th birth anniversary celebrations of B.R. Ambedkar to attack the BJP.
Insisting that whatever being witnessed over the past few months was “totally against the principles” of the Constitution, she recalled Ambedkar’s warning to hit out at the ruling dispensation, as she sought to highlight the contribution of the Congress in the drafting of the Constitution and in the freedom struggle.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu at the Parliament House in New Delhi ,on Thursday. Photo: Kamal Narang
She said Ambedkar had observed that howsoever good a Constitution may be, if those implementing it were bad people, then the ultimate effect would only be bad.
At a time when the BJP is seeking to appropriate the legacy of Ambedkar, Ms. Gandhi also utilised Ambedkar’s praise of the Congress for its contribution in the drafting of the Constitution, indicating that the Congress could lay the rightful claim on the document.
Ms. Gandhi said Ambedkar had said at that time “I was surprised when I was chosen as the chairman. There were more learned and better people than me in the Committee. It was the discipline of the Congress party that enabled the Drafting Committee to give full information about every Act in the Constitution”.
Congress MP Digvijay Singh and BJP MP Varun Gandhi on the first day of winter session of Parliament in New Delhi on Thursday. Photo: Sandeep Saxena
The Congress chief also said it was the Congress party which had spotted the “unique talent and capability” of Ambedkar who had returned after higher studies in the U.S., the U.K. and Germany on political theory and economics and was passionately fighting for the cause of the scheduled castes and the oppressed.
She said on the morning of November 26, 1949, when the Constitution was formally adopted, Dr. Rajendra Prasad complimented Ambedkar by saying, there could not have been a better chief for the Drafting Committee.
The Congress president underlined that Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was among the four stalwarts that guided the Drafting Committee. The others being Sardar Patel, Rajendra Prasad and Maulana Azad.
Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and BJP MP Yogi Adityanath at the Parliament House on Thursday. Photo: PTI
She said of the eight committees of the Drafting Committee, the chairman of these were either Nehru, Patel or Prasad. Azad was a prominent member of five of these committees.
The history of the Constitution is very old and linked to the country’s freedom struggle and that it why it is interlinked with the Congress.
She recalled that it was under Nehru, the Congress in its Karachi session in March 1931, had brought a resolution on fundamental rights and economic rights.
When some BJP members sought to protest, she pointed out to them that what she is saying is history to which no one could have any objection.
She noted that there was no doubt that the Constitution gave equal voice to the poor and secular values to the country, made democracy more representative and government more accountable.
Hailing the greatness of the Constitution, she said that it happens very rarely in the world that a galaxy of stalwarts work in unison to produce a document of such magnitude.
She said that the Constitution had proved to be flexible and had witnessed more than 100 amendments in view of the changing circumstances.