Speaking at the national convention of Seva Dal at Ajmer, Rahul Gandhi said, “The first thing which I would like to do is to apologise to the Seva Dal. You have not got your place in the Congress family. You have not been accorded the respect which you deserve.”
This apology, Gandhi said, was on the behalf of the Congress party. He also sought another apology – this time a personal one.
He said, “I also have a personal apology to make. I met the chief of Seva Dal’s Bihar unit who complained that in one of their meetings in Patna, I took the names of Youth Congress, Mahila Congress, NSUI (National Students’ Union of India) and others but did not mention Seva Dal’s name.”
Gandhi admitted his blunder and said, “It will not happen again.”
The Congress president said Seva Dal was the backbone of the Congress party. “The Seva Dal is the protector of the Congress’s ideology. It is the party’s first line of defence. Neither NSUI, nor Youth Congress, nor the Congress president is the party’s first line of defence. It is the Seva Dal,” he said.
However, Gandhi also had a grudge to make against the Seva Dal. He complained that the Seva Dal has not worked as it should have done in the past. He asked them to make a fresh start and recruit lakhs of youths in the unit.
He said the party will consider Seva Dal as its most important wing. But it should also give something in return, he said.
Gandhi asked Seva Dal to counter the BJP and its ideological parent RSS.
“Wherever the RSS spews venom and spreads hatred such as in the Northeast, you should spread love,” he said.
He said the Britishers banned the Seva Dal in 1927 but spared the RSS. The Congress leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Subhash Chandra Bose, Sardar Patel and BR Ambedkar spent several years in the jail but they never apologised to the Britishers. “However, Savarkar ji apologised nine times,” he said.
Gandhi said the Congress would not finish the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha election but will defeat it “with love”.