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Modi did no credit to PM office by launching vicious campaign of calumny against Rajiv Gandhi: Kumar

twitter-logoPTI | May 10, 2019 | Updated 19:23 IST

New Delhi, May 10 (PTI) With political discourse hitting a new low in Lok Sabha polls, senior Congress leader Ashwani Kumar on Friday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has done no credit to his office by launching a "vicious campaign of calumny" against former PM Rajiv Gandhi and he cannot denigrate martyrs. The former Law Minister also attacked the BJP over what he called "attempts to appropriate patriotism and nationalism, as if it were a monopoly of the saffron party and the Prime Minister" and said it is the first time that a prime minister has used the valour of the armed forces to impose his idea of nationalism. Amid rampant name-calling and no-holds barred tirade against each other, the Congress and the BJP have accused each other of lowering the level of political discourse in the country. "Despite an element of competition and conflict inherent in democratic politics, the level of political discourse has plummeted to an unprecedented low. In a break with finer political tradition, a serving Prime Minister has insulted the memory of a former Prime Minister who laid down his life in the cause of national unity," Kumar said. "The Prime Minister has chosen to make up the dead Bofors issue decisively buried by all counts in India after a prolonged legal process. The vicious campaign of calumny by Prime Minister Modi against late Rajiv Gandhi brings no credit to his office. The Prime Minister has the might to defend himself but in the process he cannot denigrate martyrs," he told PTI. Kumar said that the 2019 electoral mandate will determine the future of India's democracy, the relevance of ideology and larger national purposes in determining electoral outcomes. "The nurturing of a vibrant democracy demands that people make an informed choice to entrust the nation's destiny to those who will uphold its core values," he said while noting that the choice this election is between freedom and fear, inclusion and exclusion, harmony and discord, tolerance and intolerance. "The nation must choose between a liberal India anchored in constitutional values and a muscular state at the cost of our fundamental freedoms. "This election, much as the Prime Minister would like the nation to believe, is not about individuals. It is about the future of our nation and democracy premised on the citizens' capacity to speak truth to power and the obligation of those in authority to respect conscientious dissent," he said. Kumar said people are seeking sagacious leadership capable of dealing with momentous challenges of development, equity, security and environmental protection The Congress leader said with elections coming to a close, people expect a return to sanity, prudence and civility in the conduct of politics. "It is time to reclaim the nation's moral and political centre so that the divisive impact of a conflict driven politics is addressed through a politics of accommodation based on democratic consensus. The Prime Minister ought to know that democracy demands respect for differences and recognition of the value of moderation in government a nation as complex as ours," he said. Kumar said he is "absolutely aghast" at BJP's attempts "to appropriate patriotism and nationalism, as if they were a monopoly of the BJP and the Prime Minister". "Every Indian has an intense feeling of nationalism and patriotism, but we don't have to carry it on our sleeve. That is a given. "It is for the first time that any Prime Minister has sought to use the valour of the armed forces to convey an idea of nationalism which is limited to the ruling party of the day and which is limited to how the ruling party perceives nationalism to be," he said. On PM Modi's campaign style, he said, "I am deeply pained to hear a serving Prime Minister speak in such derogatory terms of his predecessors. No predecessor of the Prime Minister and no other Prime Minister, whatever be the provocation, have ever resorted to the language which we now hear. I do believe that this has brought down the image and the dignity of the office of the Prime Minister." The Congress leader alleged that the present government has "miserably failed to deliver" on any of its promises. PTI SKC RT

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