New Delhi, Aug 20: At the Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhavana Award, former Congress president Sonia Gandhi said the nation will face an unprecedented crisis if the opening of economy continues along with and closure of minds.
The 71-year-old UPA chairperson said economic disparity, along with the growing social prejudice and intolerance, will prove to be "destructive and disastrous" in the near future.
"We have seen that the opening of the economy and the closing of the mind is a dangerous and destructive mix," she was reported as saying.
Sonia Gandhi called for a united fight against the "forces of hate, bigotry and divisiveness". Her remarks were considered to be a veiled jibe against the current dispensation led by the BJP, whom the Congress has accused of communally polarising the masses for electoral gains.
Recalling her late husband Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia said he stood for sadbhavana or compassion throughout his life. She claimed that "India's diversity" was one of the most cherished aspect of our society for the late-former Prime Minister.
Sonia Gandhi's views were echoed by former PM Manmohan Singh, who said the environment of rapid intolerance, communalism and mob violence will take the country decades backwards.
At the event, former diplomat and grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Gopal Krishna Gandhi, was conferred with the award for Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhavana Award. While felicitating him, Sonia described "as one of the most eloquent and uncompromising champions of constitutional values". The 65-year-old, after retiring as a diplomat, was deputed as the Governor of West Bengal between 2004-09.