The 77th birth anniversary of late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was observed by the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) at the party headquarters Rajiv Bhawan in Guwahati on Friday.
The meeting was presided over by senior Congress leader and former MP Dijen Sarma.
APCC invited eminent journalist and Rajya Sabha MP Ajit Kumar Bhuyan as the guest speaker on the occasion.
Ajit Kumar Bhuyan paid rich tributes to late PM Rajiv Gandhi in his speech.
Bhuyan said, “Today is a special day for me as this is my first visit to Congress party office and I feel lucky to be invited to speak on this occasion, dedicated to late Rajiv Gandhi and at this very place named after him.”
“I need not speak about the charismatic Rajiv Gandhi as you know more about his life and work. But I will share some facts that are in my mind,” he said.
“He became the PM at a young age of 40 years. As a journalist, I came into close proximity three or four times during the time of the Assam Accord and was amazed at his beautiful complexion. He was also knowledgeable and capable and it is rare to find this combination,” Bhuyan said.
“Similar to John F Kennedy, who was also a handsome man and a statesman. Gandhi is still relevant because he was a democratic and secular person and was against communalism.”
“At a time when the country is facing undemocratic and fascist rule, these qualities in him stand out more,” he added.
Saying that Rajiv Gandhi believed in modern scientific thought, Bhuyan said, “His grandfather was Jawaharlal Nehru, who is under attack now. At the time Rajiv Gandhi became PM, the country from east to West – from Mizoram to Punjab – was disturbed.”
“He believed in giving power to the youth. It is evident now that our children know more than us. He saw this vision 30 years back. He decreased the voting age to 18 years,” Bhuyan said.
Saying that he was the “epitome of positivity”, Bhuyan said, “It was during his tenure in 1985 that the Assam Accord was signed, bringing to an end the historic Assam Movement. He was also instrumental in signing the Mizo accord and the Longowal agreement in Punjab.”
Bhuyan said Rajiv Gandhi tried to resolve the Sri Lankan issue and he was the first PM to visit China.
“He should be credited for the rise of the IT and Telecommunication sector. He wanted to take the benefit of education to everyone through the national policy for education. He was the architect of Operation Blackboard.”
“He gave importance to hostel education, being a student of Doon School himself. He set up the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas across the country. He was the first to publicly acknowledge that the poor received only 25% of welfare money,” the MP remarked.
APCC media department chairperson Bobbeeta Sharma delivered the welcome address and senior leader Hiranya Bora, Bolin Kuli and MLA Nurul Huda also spoke on the occasion.
The meeting was also attended by former minister Sarat Borkotoki and MLA Rekibuddin Ahmed, Abu Saleh Nizamuddin among other office-bearers of APCC, president Guwahati City DCC Swapan Das and a host of party workers.
Floral tributes were paid at the bust of late PM Rajiv Gandhi at Rajiv Bhawan by the invited guests and assembled leaders and workers of the Congress party. A blood donation camp was also organised by the NSUI at the premises, the APCC said in a statement.