After row, Suresh Gopi says he called Indira Gandhi mother of Congress, not nation

While on a visit to his constituency, Thrissur, Union Minister of State Suresh Gopi referred to Indira Gandhi as the ‘mother of the nation’ in an interaction with the media.
Suresh Gopi visiting K Karunakaran's memorial
Suresh Gopi visiting K Karunakaran's memorialFacebook / Suresh Gopi
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Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Tourism Suresh Gopi raised many eyebrows when he referred to former prime minister Indira Gandhi as the ‘Mother of Nation’ on Saturday, June 15, while on a visit to the memorial of the late K Karunakaran, a veteran Congress leader and former Kerala chief minister. After his remarks stirred a controversy, Suresh Gopi clarified a day later that he had referred to Indira Gandhi as the mother of the Congress party and not India.

On June 15, while on a visit to his constituency, Thrissur, Gopi dropped in at the memorial of K Karunakaran, on the premises of Murali Mandiram, the leader’s house, to pay tributes. Speaking to media persons, Gopi said he considered Karunakaran “the tallest Congress leader in Kerala, just as Indira Gandhi is seen as the Mother of India.”

While addressing the media on June 16, Gopi clarified that he had referred to Indira Gandhi as the mother of the Congress party in India, not the ‘mother of India’ and that his words were misinterpreted. “As far as the Congress is concerned, whether anyone likes it or not, Karunakaran is the father of Congress in Kerala. When it comes to India, Indira Gandhi is the mother,” he said.

He, however, said that he stands with the statement that Indira Gandhi is the real and only architect of India, post independence and until her demise. “As a citizen of India, one can’t ignore the contributions of Indira Gandhi to the nation,” Suresh Gopi said.

Leaders of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have often taken potshots at former prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. In February, while speaking in the Parliament, Modi stated that they both considered Indians lazy.

Suresh Gopi had won the 2024 Lok Sabha election from Thrissur by contesting against the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF)’s candidate and Karunakaran’s son Muraleedharan and the Left Democratic Front (LDF)’s candidate VS Sunil Kumar. 

During the visit, Suresh Gopi referred to Karunakaran as a ‘courageous administrator’ and ‘Father of Congress in Kerala. “My visit to the resting place of Karunakaran and his wife need not be taken up for discussions. It is my private matter,” Suresh Gopi added. He also said that Karunakaran had Indira Gandhi’s “massive support”, and hence “was able to do a lot for Kerala.”

Suresh Gopi also stated that Karunakaran and EK Nayanar, a late CPI(M) leader and former Kerala chief minister, were his “political gurus“ and had deeply influenced him in his political career. Karunakaran’s daughter Padmaja Venugopal, who recently joined the BJP from the Congress, also accompanied Suresh Gopi.

On June 12, Suresh Gopi had visited Nayanar’s house in Kannur and interacted with his wife Sarada. Reacting to his visit, Sarada told the media that there was nothing new in Suresh Gopi visiting their house and that there was no politics involved. Sarada also said Suresh Gopi calls her Amma (Mother) and Nayanar Achan (Father). 

(With IANS inputs) 

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