‘Man of principles’: At book launch, PM Modi and VP Venkaiah Naidu extol virtues of ex-PM Chandra Shekhar

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NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday released a book “Chandra Shekhar – The Last Icon of Ideological Politics” written by deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha Harivansh and Ravi Dutt Bajpai.

The Prime Minister presented the first copy of the book to Vice-President of India and chairman of Rajya Sabha M Venkaiah Naidu at a function held in Balayogi Auditorium in the Parliament House Complex.

Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Modi said that it was remarkable that even after about 12 years of his death, the thoughts of former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar are as vibrant as ever and continue to guide us.

Congratulating Harivansh for writing the book, the Prime Minister shared some memories and anecdotes of his interactions with Chandra Shekhar.

He described Chandra Shekhar as a man of remarkable culture and principles, who did not hesitate to oppose the dominant political party of his time if he disagreed with certain aspects of it.

The Prime Minister appreciated Chandra Shekhar’s clarity of thought, commitment to the people and dedication to democratic principles. The Prime Minister also recalled the historic padyatra that Chandra Shekhar had undertaken for the farmers, the poor and the marginalized.

Stressing that the country needs a new political culture beyond political untouchability, the PM announced that a museum for all former prime ministers will be established in Delhi. He urged the family members of former prime ministers to share aspects related to their life and work.

Speaking on the occasion, M Venkaiah Naidu welcomed PM Modi’s announcement to establish a modern museum in Delhi for all former prime ministers. He said that Chandra Shekhar, who rose from a humble background to become the country’s Prime Minister, had never swerved from the ideology and the principles in which he believed.

“Men like Chandra Shekhar were never attracted by the trappings of power. He always believed that politics was meant to serve the marginalized and deprived sections and not a vehicle to achieve power alone,” Venkaiah Naidu said.

He expressed hope that the life of Chandra Shekhar will continue to inspire politicians of the younger generation, especially at a time when ideology is taking a back seat.

“It is important for them to learn about a man who did not change his beliefs, principles, opinions, and friends to suit the changing political scenarios,” he said adding, “the lifelong struggle of Chandra Shekhar to achieve socio-economic parity for the sections of the Indian society should be understood by every individual entering public life.”

The Vice-President hoped that the book would give them a good understanding of the man who was fearless and led life by principles.

He lamented the all-round degeneration of values in different fields today.

“The lack of respect for decorum and traditions, absence of discipline and practice of politics without ideology and the promotion of personality-based politics are a matter of concern for one and all,” Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu said.

“As we witness regrettable violation of our rich parliamentary values and traditions, the relevance of personalities like Chandra Shekhar becomes even more acute. We are accountable not only to parliamentary practices and procedures but also to the parliamentary legacy left behind by parliamentarians like him. We must pause and ponder if we are doing justice to that rich legacy,” the Vice-President said.

“Politics should be based on principles and programmes and people should select and elect their representatives on the basis of 4Cs — Character, Capacity, Calibre and Conduct, and not on the basis of Caste, Community, Cash and Criminality — a trend seen in some areas but largely ignored in most parts of the country as is evident from the recent Lok Sabha elections,” he said.

Emphasizing that ideal behaviour was more important than ideology, Naidu said that the time has come for all political parties to evolve a code of conduct for their members in public life as well as in Parliament and legislatures to raise the level of public discourse.

Venkaiah Naidu complimented Harivansh and his co-author for covering various facets of the leader right from his young days.

Harivansh said he took the inspiration of writing the book from the fact that Chandra Shekhar has not been accorded his rightful place in the history of our country.

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, who were present on the occasion, shared the personal experiences they had with Chandra Shekhar.

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