Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday said former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's vision of India is "fundamentally under attack" and those in power are "blind to this truth". Addressing an event to mark the 130th anniversary of the iconic leader, Mrs Gandhi launched a scathing attack at the BJP-led central government, saying "they" disrespect and fear diversity and freedom of choice.
"What are these values? They can be summarised as the four pillars of Nehruvianism: democratic institution-building, staunch secularism, socialist economics and a non-aligned foreign policy. These were integral to his vision of India. Today, this vision is fundamentally under attack, but it remains at the core of the true India that we must continue to fight for," she said.
"It is lamentable that those who are in power today are blind to this truth. They lack the capacity, the vision and the wisdom to uphold this legacy. The forces unleashed by our present rulers want to dictate to us what we can do, say or think. Their idea of unity is uniformity," she added.
"They disrespect and fear diversity which means they deny our pluralism, our freedom of choice, which are integral to our fundamental rights. Their language may be modern, but they seek to take India backward, not forward," she said.
Mrs Gandhi appealed to the people of the country to fight what she described as "bigotry, injustice and mismanagement of the last six years".
Many BJP leaders, including party chief Amit Shah, have blamed Jawaharlal Nehru for the formation of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, saying his contemporary, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, should have handled the issue.
"The PoK wouldn't have come into existence had Nehru not declared untimely ceasefire with Pakistan... Sardar Patel should have handled Kashmir, instead of Nehru handling it... the princely states handled by Sardar Patel had all become part of India," Mr Shah had said at a September event, themed around the centre's decision to end special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
BJP leaders Pragya Thakur and Shivraj Chouhan had called Nehru a "criminal" for implementing Article 370.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to Jawaharlal Nehru on his birth anniversary. "Tributes to our former PM Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on his birth anniversary," he tweeted.