Time for honest appraisal of founding fathers’ contributions: Minister

New Delhi, Nov 24 (IANS) Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday said it was high time that an “honest appraisal” was done of the contributions made by the country’s founding fathers.

He also made a veiled attack on independent India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru for his handling of the Kashmir issue.

“Let there be an objective and honest appraisal of the contribution of the great leaders,” he said while addressing a workshop for Members of Parliament, organised under the aegis of Lok Sabha Secretariat’s Speaker’s Research Initiative (SRI).

Seeking to draw a comparison between the works of Nehru, independent India’s first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and chairman of the Constitution-drafting panel Bhimrao Ambedkar, Prasad wondered why and how due recognition to some of the great leaders came much later.

Delivering a lecture on the theme ‘Fundamental Duties and Rights’, Prasad said that while Sardar Patel successfully handled the merger of the large number of princely states into independent India, things did not go smoothly with regard to Jammu and Kashmir — which, he said, was handled by Nehru himself.

Prasad, a senior BJP leader, said that while many other senior national leaders, including Indira Gandhi and V.V. Giri were honoured with the country’s highest civilian award Bharat Ratna, due recognition to both Sardar Patel and Ambedkar came much late in the 1990s.

Former President V.V. Giri was conferred the Bharat Ratna in 1975, while Prime Minister Indira Gandhi got one in 1971.

The workshop was attended, among others, by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.

In his address on ‘Unitary and Federal Structure of Polity under Indian Constitution’, Law Commission Chairman Justice B.S. Chauhan (retd) said the Constitution gives a strong tilt in favour of the central government.

He said the judiciary’s independence played a vital role in maintaining the federal structure of the Indian political system.

–IANS

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