Rahul Gandhi on Saturday made a veiled attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Sangh Parivar, saying there are forces which are promoting disharmony and are seeking a "divided and divisive" India.
"Unfortunately, there are also those that prefer a divided and divisive India, out of tune with itself and the world. They seek to spread disharmony. These are the forces that wish to break the bonds between us.
"There are, unfortunately in India today, men and women who actively promote disharmony, who humiliate and separate, who isolate and kill. But though the few may feel they are thriving in India today, we are proud to honor you ma'am and the many millions like you, who stand for everyone," the Congress vice president said.
Gandhi's remarks came at a function at which the Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavna Award 2014-15 was conferred on noted Hindustani classical singer Shubha Mudgal for her outstanding contribution towards the promotion of communal harmony, peace and goodwill. The award carries a citation and cash award of Rs 10 lakh.
The Congress leader has been targeting the BJP and Sangh, accusing them of pursuing a divisive agenda.
Gandhi hailed Mudgal for using her art to bring millions of people together.
"Her songs have broken barriers and brought harmony to the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. My father Rajiv Gandhi did the same in politics. He carried millions of people together, bringing India closer and allowing it to imagine a collective dream," he said.
He insisted that India has achieved what it has precisely because millions of people have chosen to live in harmony together. "India in harmony with itself is musical."
Congress President Sonia Gandhi did not attend the function as she is recovering after illness. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and senior Congress leader Karan Singh, who is the Chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Award, hailed the contribution of Mudgal.
In her acceptance speech, Mudgal said that in giving the award to her, the composite culture of India is being honoured. The Hindustani classical music truly reflects sadbhavna and harmony, she said.
Manmohan Singh said that Rajiv Gandhi was "embodiment" of sadbhavana, love and compassion.