Sonia Gandhi meets President over ‘growing intolerance’


New Delhi: Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Monday called on President Pranab Mukherjee at his residence in the national capital to discuss what her party calls ‘growing intolerance’ in the country, hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi taunted the former over 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

The meeting between the Congress chief and the President last for over 40 minutes. In addition to this, the Congress plans to hold a protest march led by Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi on Tuesday over the pressing issue.

This comes hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi recalled the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, and said the Congress has no right to talk about tolerance.

“Today on November 2, Sikhs were massacred… Sikhs were murdered in Delhi, across India… There were serious allegations against Congress leaders… and on the same November 2, Congress is giving a lecture on tolerance,” Modi said at an election rally in this Bihar district.

“This does not suit them… The tears of the families of those Sikhs have not yet been wiped,” he said.

Modi was speaking ahead of the fifth and final phase of staggered Bihar assembly elections. The last phase of voting takes place on November 5 and the votes will be counted on November 8.

Earlier, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Saturday she was “saddened” at the level of intolerance in the country and asked people to “act for unity”.

She expressed support for President Pranab Mukherjee’s views on unity in diversity.

“Saddened that there is so much intolerance today. Why so much divide and rule? Let us speak for unity, stand for unity. Let us act for unity,” Banerjee tweeted.

“Respectfully & completely agree with the sentiments expressed by Rashtrapati ji today (Saturday) on unity in diversity and tolerance @RashtrapatiBhvn,” Banerjee said.

Speaking at the golden jubilee celebrations of the Delhi High Court at Vigyan Bhavan in the national capital, President Mukherjee said India prospered due to its power to assimilate and tolerate.

“Our country has thrived due to its power of assimilation and tolerance. Our pluralistic character has stood the test of time,” he said.

Referring to the ancient civilisations having accommodated diversities, the president said: “Multiplicity is our collective strength, which must be preserved at all costs. It finds reflection in the various provisions of our Constitution.”

The Trinamool Congress supremo paid tribute to former prime minister Indira Gandhi on her death anniversary and remembered ‘Iron Man’ Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his birth anniversary on Saturday.

“Remembering the ‘Iron Man of India’, Sardar Patel ji, on his birth anniversary. May his vision of united India be fulfilled,” she said.

On Friday, a section of intellectuals and non-governmental organisation hit the streets against rising intolerance in the country, by organising an open beef party.

(With inputs from agencies)