We have not forgotten Nehru, says Karnataka CM Bommai

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai at the Independence Day celebration at Manekshaw Parade Grounds in Bengaluru on Monday.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai at the Independence Day celebration at Manekshaw Parade Grounds in Bengaluru on Monday. | Photo Credit: K. MURALI KUMAR K

Amidst criticism for omitting the contribution of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in government-sponsored media advertisement on Sunday, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai referred to Nehru in separate Independence Day related functions even as he took a veiled dig at the former Prime Minister and the Congress. 

“The first Prime Minister of the country, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Lal Bahadur Shastri have contributed in their own way. The Prime Ministers’ Museum in Delhi has on display all the contributions made by the Prime Ministers of the country. There is no question of forgetting anyone. It is not just Prime Ministers, even other noble personalities too have contributed. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar who has written the Constitution should get the credit for the functioning of democracy in all these 75 years. There has been a growing tendency of downplaying the contribution made by Ambedkar,” the Chief Minister said at the Manekshaw Parade Ground on Monday morning.

He, however, reserved his larger response for criticism at Amrutha Bharathige Karunaada Jathre programme later in the afternoon.

Turning his attention on post-Independent India, the Chief Minister said that it was the teachers, farmers, soldiers, doctors, engineers and scientists who built and contributed for the development of the country. Without referring to Nehru, Mr. Bommai said: “The country was run in his name for 65 years. Why did we lose the China war? If the leaders of that time had shown strong leadership, strengthened the soldiers and timely orders were issued, we would not have lost the war.” He, however, said: “We have not forgotten his work and we have respect for Nehru. Our culture is to respect those who have done well.”

“Never in the past had that government publication spoken about the contribution of others. We published them with photo. Nobody spoke good about it. They (critics) did not speak well. They (critics) felt sad that the photo of their leader was not there,” the Chief Minister said.

Wanting to know the reason for names of thousands of anonymous freedom fighters who laid their lives in the freedom movement not been publicised, Chief Minister, in a veiled attack on Congress leaders, said that those who benefited from the freedom movement should answer about the kith and kin of other leaders in the freedom movement. “They should tell where the family members of Subhash Chandra Bose, Lal Bahadur Shastri, and Ambedkar are. Unfortunately, Ambedkar was not even allowed to enter Parliament.” The Chief Minister said: “The names of anonymous freedom fighters don’t get published. I am asking why? We are asking why the names of those who died at Jallianwala Bagh don’t get published. Similarly, in Bengaluru alone about 25 persons died. This programme is dedicated to those anonymous martyrs.”

Mr Bommai said: “The history of freedom movement will not change. However, people who have written the history of freedom struggle have attempted to change the history in the last 75 years. Time has come to tell the truth about history and time has come for the young to understand the truth.”

“Thousands of youth, farmers, workers, fighters have sacrificed their lives. However, people are competing in discussion on who brought Independence to the country. Thousands of anonymous freedom fighters fought under the leadership of Lokamanya Tilak, Veer Savarkar, Mahatma Gandhi, Subhash Chandra Bose, Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad, Lala Lajpat Rai, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, and Tatya Tope. In Karnataka, it was Kittur Rani Chennama and Sangoli Rayanna, Mr. Bommai said.

Responding to criticism that he had become a slave of the RSS, Mr. Bommai said: “I have accepted the ideology and thought. I have bowed my head for the patriotism that is imbibed in RSS. I am proud of it.”

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Printable version | Aug 16, 2022 11:00:41 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/we-have-not-forgotten-nehru-says-karnataka-cm-bommai/article65772358.ece