Jammu, July 17: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday criticised the culture of dynastic politics and took a veiled swipe at Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra who is embroiled in controversies over his land deals.
The Prime Minister also disapproved of political untouchability, saying the national heritage should not be divided and all leaders who have worked and died for the nation should be given equal regard irrespective of their ideologies and affiliations.
Modi, who was here to commemorate the birth centenary of late leader Girdhari Lal Dogra, hailed him for the selfless contribution to the society without indulging in nepotism.
The Prime Minister noted that Dogra was Jammu and Kashmir’s tall leader who had presented 26 Budgets as Finance Minister of the state but never did any favours for his family members, including his son-in-law Arun Jaitley, now the union Finance Minister.
Modi said: “Dogra Sahab would have been a very good judge of people’s abilities. And one example is the son-in-law he selected. There was no similarity in the political ideology of Dogra Sahab and Arun Jaitley. These days, we know what kind of things are said about ‘damaads’,” leaving the audience in splits.
“Both (Dogra and Jaitley) took their own routes in public life. But today, we know what kind of talk is going on because of son-in-laws,” he said, in an apparent reference of Vadra who is embroiled in controversies related to land deals.
Modi disapproved of political untouchability as he addressed the function which was attended by Jaitley, Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra, Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi and senior Congress leader Karan Singh.
“Today in politics, there is a need to ensure that our heritage is not divided. This is a matter of concern,” he said, amid a tussle among political parties to claim the legacy of various national leaders.
“Earlier, I saw an exhibition on Mr. Dogra. What touched me most was the fact that in all of Girdhari Lal ji’s photos, I never saw a single person from his family. It is a victory for Girdhari Lal Dogra ji that he inspired a line of leaders after him, he became a man who shaped a generation of leaders,” he added.
His remarks came after Azad said Dogra was “24 carat Congressman”, who never “compromised with regionalism, casteism and communalism”.
Modi said public life cannot be run by judging a person on the basis of his political party, ideology or leadership.
“There should not be political untouchability. Everybody in public life works with certain ideology but he lives and dies for the nation. We should be proud of them and have equal regard for anybody who has worked and died for the nation, irrespective of their political ideologies and affiliations.”
Modi’s comments assume significance as ever since he became the Prime Minister in June last year, he has been accused by Congress of trying to “usurp” the legacy of its national icons like Sardar Patel, Lal Bahadur Shastri, B R Ambedkar and Subhash Chandra Bose.
Recently the BJP also sought to associate itself with late K Kamaraj, a former Congress President, hailing him as a national leader who had opposed Emergency and drew parallels between him and Modi.
Insisting that division of national heritage is a matter of concern, Modi said, “For us, all of them (national leaders) are great persons, who worked for the country are respectable and to be proud of. There should not be any untouchability about it.
An advocate by profession, Dogra was born in a small Bhaiya village in Kathua district and rose to national prominence. He died on November 27, 1987.
(With Agency Inputs)