Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President DK Shivakumar on Sunday demanded an apology from the Karnataka government for ignoring former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in the state government's advertisement for 'Har Ghar Tiranga' campaign.
The Karnataka government advertisement features Mahatma Gandhi, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad and Veer Savarkar among a list of 10 national freedom fighters and 10 freedom fighters from Karnataka.
In a letter to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Shivakumar said, "You insulted Jawaharlal Nehru, the frontline fighter of the freedom struggle, the first prime minister of the country, the architect of the post-independence New India construction, in the government advertisement published in the newspapers on Sunday. You have made an unsuccessful attempt to distort history."
The Congress leader said that the entire country is celebrating the 75th year of independence adding that on this occasion it is the duty of every Indian to remember and pay respect to those who sacrificed for freedom. "In this matter, the responsibility of the incumbent government will be more than double," he added.
"He should not have done such low-level politics from the position of Chief Minister. This is not a job that pleases their conscience," he said.
Shivakumar said that under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru dedicated his life at every stage including Non-cooperation Movement, Salt Satyagraha, and Quit India Movement.
He said that Nehru had suffered nine years of imprisonment for the freedom struggle.
"Nehru's role in the freedom struggle and construction of New India was very important. You know this too. We grew up reading this history. However, you should not have taken up such a trivial task for political reasons," he said.
He expressed outrage and said that this is unforgivable.
Shivakumar also demanded an apology from the Chief Minister and asked him to show the truth to the people.
Other Opposition leaders also slammed the Karnataka government for the advertisement.
Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah called Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai an "RSS slave" while AICC general secretary and in-charge of the party affairs in the state Randeep Surjewala said the BJP's hatred for the country's first prime minister has reached its zenith.
In a series of tweets, Siddaramaiah, the leader of opposition in the state assembly, called Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai an "RSS slave".
"When we thought slavery ended with the British gone, Basavaraj Bommai proved everyone wrong by showing that he is still a slave to RSS. Not including Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in the list of freedom fighters in today's government ad shows how low a CM can go to save his chair,' said Siddaramaiah.
Noting that Bommai should remember that Nehru had written letters and books to inspire people to participate in the freedom movement even while he was jailed for nine years, the he said, "Looks like RSS is sad that Nehru did not write apology and mercy petitions to British like Savarkar."
"By omitting Pandit Nehru from the list of freedom fighters, Bommai has humiliated the entire nation in front of the world. Slow claps to Basavaraj Bommai for giving an opportunity to the rest of world to mock India," he said.
Claiming that the RSS hated Nehru because he had not only vociferously opposed its communalism and its support to "murder" Mahatma Gandhi but had also banned it, Siddaramaiah asked, "But, what is wrong with you? Mr Bommai?"
He said that the government's ad clearly shows that RSS does not have anyone from its org to show as a freedom fighter, other than Savarkar who pleaded with British officials and acted as their stooge for his survival.
"Savarkar, who pleaded British officers to get himself released from the jail, gets position in the front row. But, Baba Saheb, who fought for freedom by being the voice of marginalized sections, gets placed in the last row. The blatant display of untouchability by BJP is sad," said Siddaramaiah as he demanded the Chief Minister to tender an apology to the entire nation for insulting Pandit Nehru.
The former Chief Minister said that the people of India and Karnataka will never accept anyone who humiliates their country's first Prime Minister.
Congress general secretary, Jairam Ramesh said, "Nehru will survive such pettiness. CM Karnataka, desperate to save his job knows what he has done is an insult to his father SR Bommai and his father's 1st political guru MN Roy, both great Nehru admirers, the latter being a friend as well. Pathetic this is."
AICC general secretary and in-charge of the party affairs in the state Randeep Surjewala said that the BJP's hatred for the country's first prime minister has reached its zenith.
"Unending hatred for India's 1st PM and Nation builder, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru has reached its zenith. Bommai Government stoops to the lowest by denying his very existence. On the 75th Anniversary of Independence, it reflects the character and vicious thought process of present-day rulers," he said in a tweet.
The Karnataka government's advertisement was as part of the 'Har Ghar Tiranga' campaign highlights the contributions and sacrifices of freedom fighters. (ANI)