Disappointed with President Ram Nath Kovind for equating Deen Dayal Upadhyay with Mahatma Gandhi and not mentioning Jawaharlal Nehru in his acceptance speech, the Congress on Wednesday said that it was "unacceptable" how the President has equated a Jan Sangh leader to the father of the nation.
Speaking to ANI, Congress leader Anand Sharma said it is disrespecting the history and the sacrifices made by Mahatma Gandhi.
"It is very unfortunate that the President of India, who should represent the entire country and is representing a particular agenda or ideology. The President of India should not have one view point or thought or an agenda. That is what we expect from our new president of India to do. We were disappointed that he didn't mention India's freedom fighter, a first Prime minister who is truly a global statesman. His contribution and sacrifices, while he refers to...it is disrespecting history," he added.
Sharma said that the BJP has every political right to remember Deen Dayal Upadhyay and pay tributes, but they cannot be equated to the father of the nation.
"It was equally shocking when the President chose to equate the father of the nation who sacrificed everything including his life for the cause of this country and its freedom and its people. With Deen Dayal Upadhyay, he was not a president or a freedom fighter, nor a minister. He might be an RSS ideologue. The BJP has every political right to remember him and pay tributes but he cannot be equated to the father of the nation. This is unacceptable," he said.
The Congress leader further said that this shows the 'pettiness' of the Government that they are not even mentioning that this is the centenary year of the Indira Gandhi, but they are celebrating the centenary of Deen Dayal Upadhyay as a state, as government at public expense.
Addressing the gathering at the Central Hall of Parliament on, Kovind, who was sworn-in as the 14th President of India today, remembered Mahatma Gandhi, Bhim Rao Ambedkar and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as patriotic freedom fighters.
"Our Independence was the result of efforts by thousands of patriotic freedom fighters led by Mahatma Gandhi. Later, Sardar Patel integrated our nation. Principal architect of our Constitution Babasaheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar instilled in us the value of human dignity and of the Republican ethic," he added
"We need to sculpt a robust, high growth economy, an educated, ethical and shared community, and an egalitarian society, as envisioned by Mahatma Gandhi and Deen Dayal Upadhyay ji," the President said.