Lamenting that the political discourse in the country has hit a new low, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah said on Monday said that the Congress, rather than the BJP-led NDA, should have conferred the Bharat Ratna on late former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The former Prime Minister was given the country’s highest civilian award in 2015 at his residence months after NDA came to power.
Mr Abdullah was referring to speeches of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said that his linguistic behaviour is unbecoming of the prime minister.
He said PM Modi is using foul language against India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru as well as other leaders such as Indira Gandhi.
“Has he forgotten what Nehru did for the country? Has he forgotten what Indira Gandhi did for this country — she gave her life for the nation. If we are here, it is because of the legacy that has been passed on to us. His (Modi’s) conduct is just not becoming of the prime minister. I have never referred to my mother in my political speeches. What is he doing?” Mr Abdullah asked.
He then praised Atal Bihari Vajpayee and recalled a personal conversation with the former prime minister where he praised Nehru.
Mr Abdullah said that Atal Bihari Vajpayee, even as he came from the RSS background, understood the fact that the nation could not be run by one man.
“But one mistake that the Congress made was not presenting him with the Bharat Ratna. He was worthy of it,” Mr Abdullah said in the presence of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
He was participating in a panel discussion following the launch of “Fables of Fractured Times” by former minister in Manmohan Singh’s cabinet minister Manish Tewari.