<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As the Congress organised nationwide programmes to mark the 100th birth anniversary of Indira Gandhi, hailing her as one who fought for secularism and the poor, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram flagged the angst of the party with the government “not celebrating” the event.Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “Tributes to former PM Mrs Indira Gandhi on her birth anniversary”, while BJP veteran LK Advani and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel paid floral tributes to her in Parliament in the presence of Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.BJP MP Varun Gandhi hailed his grandmother as “a mother to this nation”. “Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. To a lady that was a mother to this nation. Miss you Dadi…I know you always watch over us,” Varun said in a tweet that also had a picture in which the former Prime Minister is seen holding him, then a small child, in her lap.Rahul, who is set to take over as Congress president within a fortnight, termed her ‘dadi’ his ‘mentor and guide’, who gave him strength.Participating in a discussion on Indira at the Tata Literature Live festival in Mumbai, Chidambaram said, “It is a shame that the country is not celebrating the centenary of its only female Prime Minister. The government of India did not celebrate her centenary. I do not know which state government celebrated her centenary.”He further said, “The Congress party is doing it in its own way but the country is not celebrating Indira Gandhi’s centenary much like Russia that seems to have forgotten the centenary of the Russian revolution.”Former Union Minister Jairam Ramesh felt that the BJP is friendlier to Indira Gandhi than her father Jawaharlal Nehru, as she was steeped in the Upanishads and Vedas.At 1 Safdarjung Road, where Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her bodyguards on October 31, 1984, Congress president Sonia Gandhi recalled her mother-in-law as one who “fought for secularism, against all those forces seeking to divide the Indian people on lines of religion and caste”.”For her, as the Prime Minister, there was one religion, a sacred creed passionately held — that all Indians were equal children of the motherland,” she said at the function.Noting that Indira Gandhi could not tolerate any form of bullying, coercion and unfairness, the Congress president said she faced all endemic problems — from combating poverty and inequality to the critical ones of war and terrorism — with courage for the 16 years that she governed the nation.”She gloried in the rich diversity of India, its profound democratic and secular values,” she said, highlighting Indira’s commitment towards the poor.Former President Pranab Mukherjee recalled her role in inserting the two words “socialist” and “secular” in the Constitution through the 42nd amendment to make it explicit even when many at that time considered it unnecessary, arguing the entire text of the Constitution was already oriented towards socialism and secularism.He said that this decision emanated out of her belief that insertion of these two words in the preamble would define the characteristics of Indian State adequately.A photo exhibition with rare photographs of Indira Gandhi was organised at the venue, where former Prime Minister Singh unveiled a special catalogue on her.
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