Congress apologises after flak over Abul Kalam Azad's absence in plenary ad

The party said it was "an inexcusable slip-up", for which responsibility was being fixed and action would be taken

Press Trust of India Nava Raipur
Photo: Shutterstock

Photo: Shutterstock

The Congress apologised on Sunday after an advertisement on its 85th plenary session, which did not feature India's first education minister and freedom fighter Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, triggered a controversy and the party received flak from several quarters.

The party said it was "an inexcusable slip-up", for which responsibility was being fixed and action would be taken.

The full-page advertisement, published in dailies on the third day of the plenary session, featured Congress leaders of the past -- Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, B R Ambedkar, Subhas Chandra Bose, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, P V Narasimha Rao and Sarojini Naidu.

Sharing the advertisement on Twitter, Congress MP Manish Tewari said, "The @INCIndia has a pantheon of Muslim leaders who struggled against fissiparous tendencies especially within their community that led to creation of Pakistan & dedicated themselves to inclusive idea of India. Someone wants to airbrush their contribution from annals of History."

Several people hit out at the Congress for leaving out Azad in its advertisement.

"Today an ad released by INC did not carry a photograph of Maulana Azad. It was an inexcusable slipup. Responsibility for it is being fixed & action will be taken," Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said in a tweet.

"Meanwhile this is a most sincere apology from us. He will always remain an iconic & inspiring figure for us & India," he said.

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Ramesh also responded to a tweet by a party leader which pointed out that Azad's picture featured on the dais of the plenary session, saying, "Hope all those who took us to task (justifiable as it may have been) for one goof do take note."

Former Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad also attacked the Congress, saying that after my exit from the party, BJPisation of Congress is taking place.

In these pictures, where is the front line freedom fighter Maulana Azad? Azad said sharing pictures of the advertisement published in papers.

Hitting out at Azad, Ramesh said, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad never ever betrayed the Congress Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad. Did you see the backdrop at Raipur where Maulana Azad was prominently displayed.

BSP MP Kunwar Danish Ali hit out at the Congress, saying Rahul Gandhi will have to confront and clean RSS elements in his party that are responsible for such a self-goal.

"How can INC forget Maulana Azad and his contribution? Earlier also, Pranab Mukherjee and Shivraj Patil approved installation of Savarkar's portrait in Parliament," Ali said.

BJP MP and its youth wing president Tejasvi Surya said it was "hypocritical" on the part of the Congress to include Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, B R Ambedkar, Subhas Chandra Bose, Lal Bahadur Shastri and P V Narasimha Rao in its advertisement.

"The nation remembers how Nehru family treated these stalwarts & tried erasing their legacy. This advert is only laughable!" he tweeted.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Topics : Congress

First Published: Feb 27 2023 | 7:23 AM IST

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