New Delhi, August 20: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former president Pranab Mukherjee and top Congress leaders, including party chief Sonia Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh, paid rich tributes to Rajiv Gandhi on his 75th birth anniversary on Tuesday.
At a prayer meeting organised at ‘Veer Bhumi’, the memorial of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, his children — former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, paid homage along with other family members.
Former vice president Hamid Ansari also paid tribute.
Remembering Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister Modi tweeted, “Tributes to our former PM Shri Rajiv Gandhi on his birth anniversary.”
A host of Congress leaders, including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ahmed Patel, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, paid homage to the former prime minister at the prayer meeting.
An audio clip of one of Rajiv Gandhi’s speeches was played in the background.
The party organised a host of other programmes in the national capital and across the country to mark the occasion.
While former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addressed a function and gave ‘Rajiv Gandhi Janma Pancha Sapthathi Puraskar’ to people and organisations making contributions to society, a blood donation camp was organised by the Youth Congress.
Singh also remembered Rajiv Gandhi as a visionary and illustrious prime minister who contributed a lot towards peace and national integration and harmony.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi distributed motorised vehicles/scooters to some disabled people at Jawahar Bhawan at Rajiv Gandhi Foundation marking the 75th birth anniversary of the former PM.
They also inaugurated an exhibition entitled ‘Memories and Archives of Rajiv Gandhi’.
Rahul Gandhi inaugurated the Rajiv Gandhi Socio-Technical, Knowledge, Innovation and Learning Lab on his birth anniversary, which is observed as Sadbhavana Diwas.
Rahul remembered his father as a patriot and a visionary whose far-sighted policies helped build India.
“Today we celebrate the 75th birth anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi ji, a patriot and a visionary, whose far-sighted policies helped build India. To me, he was a loving father who taught me never to hate, to forgive and to love all beings,” he tweeted.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also tweeted, “From my father, I learned how to listen to people’s stories and find a place in my heart for them no matter how contrary to mine they might be.”
The Congress, on its official Twitter handle, said Rajiv Gandhi’s commitment to empowering the youth was illustrated largely through his education policy. He understood the important role education played in shaping the future of the nation and created the National Policy on Education to instil change, the party said.
“Rajiv Gandhi’s dream was to make India a formidable force in the 21st century.He focused on technology, education and giving a voice to the disenfranchised. His vision and policies are the foundation upon which India thrived and for that he will always be revered.
“India’s strength lies in its unity and diversity. As we remember Rajiv Gandhi on his 75th birth anniversary, we must also remember that his words are now more relevant than ever. We must never allow communal madness to break the bond of unity among us all,” the Congress tweeted.
Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel said the values Rajiv Gandhi lived and worked for were “essentially the values that define our nation-spirit of tolerance, commitment to progressive policies and empathy to others”.
“On his 75th birth anniversary homage to Rajiv ji should not only be a remembrance of his extraordinary personality and contribution to nation-building – it should also be marked by a reaffirmation of our commitment to abide by these very values,” he tweeted.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also tweeted offering his tributes to Rajiv Gandhi.
While the Congress observed the day as ‘Sadbhavana Diwas’, the party has planned a host of events during the week. To mark the 75th birth anniversary celebrations, the AICC is organising several events, including a cultural programme, at Indira Gandhi Stadium on August 22. Sonia Gandhi will deliver the keynote address. (PTI)