Surprised by Tharoor's tweet on sengol, says Congress leader Hassan

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M. M. Hassan | Photo: M. V. Sinoj|Mathrubhumi

Kozhikode: Senior Congress leader and convenor of the UDF M M Hassan on Monday said he was surprised by senior party MP Shashi Tharoor's tweet on the 'sengol' in which he called on the opposition to embrace the symbol from the past and reconcile its differences with the union government.

Amid the raging row about the historicity of first Prime Minister Jawarlal Nehru being presented with a sengol (sceptre) to mark the transfer of power from the British, Thiruvananthapuram MP Tharoor said that the positions taken by the government and the opposition on the issue are reconcilable, as he called for embracing the symbol from the past to affirm the values of our present.

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Tharoor made the remark on Sunday amid a war of words between the Congress and the BJP over the history of the Sengol, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying it was a symbol of the transfer of power from the British in 1947 and should have gotten its due respect after Independence, but was kept on display as a "walking stick" at Anand Bhawan in Prayagraj.

"Shashi Tharoor is a strong critic of Britishers. I am surprised by his tweet... I don't believe that Tharoor would say that. He should explain it," Hassan told reporters.

Brushing aside the claim that the sengol was a symbol of the transfer of power from the British, Hassan said Pandit Jawarharlal Nehru would not have accepted it if he was presented with it or any other object like the golden sphere by the British.

The Congress has claimed there is no documentary evidence of Lord Mountbatten, C Rajagopalachari, and Jawaharlal Nehru describing the sengol as a symbol of transfer of power from the British to India.

In a long Twitter post, Tharoor said, "My own view on the sengol controversy is that both sides have good arguments. The government rightly argues that the sceptre reflects a continuity of tradition by embodying sanctified sovereignty and the rule of dharma. The Opposition rightly argues that the Constitution was adopted in the name of the people and that sovereignty abides in the people of India as represented in their Parliament, and is not a kingly privilege handed down by divine right.

"The two positions are reconcilable if one simply drops the debatable red herring about the sceptre having been handed to (Jawaharlal) Nehru by Mountbatten to symbolise the transfer of power, a story for which there is no proof," he had tweeted.

Tharoor had said that instead it should be simply said that the sengol is a traditional symbol of power and authority, and by placing it in the Lok Sabha, India is affirming that sovereignty resides there and not with any monarch.

"Let us embrace this symbol from the past to affirm the values of our present," the former union minister said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the new Parliament building in New Delhi on Sunday morning and installed the historic sengol in the Lok Sabha chamber.


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