Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the nation’s heritage is common to all and it cannot be divided based on political affiliations.
Speaking at a ceremony in Jammu to mark the birth centenary of late Congress leader Girdhari Lal Dogra, who was Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s father-in-law, during a brief visit to Jammu and Kashmir, Modi also cited the glorious period of the country’s politics when leaders served the nation without furthering the interest of their family.
“The heritage of the country is common to all of us and it cannot be divided into compartments because of political considerations,” Modi said, as he shared the dais with senior Congress leaders Karan Singh and Ghulam Nabi Azad.
He said the late leader worked for the country, irrespective of which political party or ideology he adhered to.
Citing Dogra’s rectitude, he said: “I was going through the photo gallery at Girdhari Lal Dogra’s centenary celebrations today. What struck me as an outstanding thing was that the only time you see a member of family accompanying him is in pictures of his last journey.”
In a lighter vein, he praised the veteran Congress leader’s ability to judge human beings.
“The late leader must have been a great judge of human beings. This is apparent in his choice of choosing a son-in-law like Arun Jaitley,” he said, but on a serious note he said Jaitley stood steadfast in his political belief despite the fact that his father-in-law wielded power as a senior Congress leader.
“The two of them never allowed party affiliations to affect their family and political leanings,” he said.
Modi also took a dig at Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra.
“In today’s politics you otherwise see the embarrassment sons-in-law cause to their in-laws,” he said.
Noting doubts had been expressed whether he should come to celebrate the life and times of a Congress leader, Modi said he had disregarded them.
“Girdhari Lal Dogra served India and that is why I am here,” he said.
The prime minister has, however, disappointed many in Jammu and Kashmir as he concluded his visit without making any announcement about the much-hyped Rs.70,000 crore development package for the state.
Many people, including those in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party-Bharatiya Janata Party coalition, were expecting that Modi would make that announcement on the eve of Eid festival being celebrated on Saturday.