The Congress alleged on Friday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath were conspiring to remove the memories of India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the people of the country will teach them a lesson.
The Congress' remarks came after a statue of Nehru was removed from an intersection in Allahabad as part of a road widening project. The Allahabad Development Authority said the statue was placed in a park on the same road.
Party chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said even by removing his statue, they would not be able to remove the memories of Nehru and others connected with the freedom struggle from the minds of the people.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi has turned blind in the anger of political vendatta. He and the UP chief minister want to remove all memories of Jawaharlal Nehru which are associated with the first prime minister in the development of Independent India and the freedom struggle," he said.
Mr Surjewala said Allahabad has been the work place of Nehru as well as of the Congress which started its Independence march from there.
"Modi ji and Yogi ji are conspiring by trying to tarnish this memory of Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi and Vallabhbhai Patel," the Congress leader alleged.
"By removing a statue from outside Allahabad's Anand Bhawan, Modi will not be able to remove Nehru from the minds and hearts of people. Whatever steps you may take, the people of India have a bigger heart and will teach Modi and Adityanath a lesson," the Congress leader claimed.
Party leader Ajay Maken said it was unfortunate that statues of national leaders were being removed and that Nehru was not only a Congress leader, he was the counrty's first prime minister and he deserved respect from every political party and all citizens.
He recalled that the BJP leaders fondly circulate the speech of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, where, he as the external affairs minister in 1977, ensured that Nehru's portrait is put back when it was removed at that time.
"So, I would like to remind them again that Nehru was not only a Congress Leader... but, more than that, he was a national icon," he said.
Mr Maken said Nehru was a great freedom fighter who had fought for the country's Independence and was imprisoned for 10 -11 years in various jails. "So, Nehru is more than a Congress man. He belongs to every man and we should give him due respect," he told reporters.
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