Attempts made in past to run down contribution of Sardar Patel: Modi

BJP rewriting history by adopting leaders, says Cong
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Agencies
NEW DELHI
31 Oct 2017

In a veiled attack on the Congress ahead of Gujarat polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said some parties and governments in the past have tried to run down and erase the contributions of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in unifying the country immediately after Independence.

Flagging off a run to commemorate the 142nd birth anniversary of Patel, Modi said due to the statesmanship and political acumen of the country's first home minister, India is united today despite the colonial rulers' wish that it was disintegrated into smaller states after Independence. "There have been attempts to run down Patel, to ensure that the contribution of Patel is forgotten. But Sardar is Sardar, whether any government or any party recognises his contribution or not but the nation and the youth will not forget him," he said without naming any government or party. "The youth of India respects him and his contribution towards the building of our nation," the Prime Minister noted.

Modi's comment bears significance as it came ahead of the Assembly elections in Gujarat, the state Patel belonged to. Paying rich tribute to Patel, the prime minister said he had not only saved the country from the difficulties being faced immediately after Independence, but succeeded in uniting the whole nation. "The British government wished that India was disintegrated into smaller states. But Patel used all means (Sam, dam, dand, bhed, rajneeti, kutneeti) and succeeded in uniting all princely states into a single nation within a very small span of time," he said. Modi said generation after generation of Indians will continue to remember Patel, particularly the youth, who will carry forward his legacy.

The 'Run for Unity', which began from the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, saw the participation of a large number of people, including sports personalities like Sardar Singh, Deepa Karmakar, Suresh Raina and Karnam Malleswari. The 1.5 km run here came to an end near the India Gate C-Hexagon-Shah Jahan Road radial. Earlier, President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu, the Prime Minister, and Union home minister Rajnath Singh paid floral tributes to Patel on Parliament Street where his statues are installed. The Prime Minister said everyone in the country is proud of Patel's contribution to India before it attained freedom and during the early years after the nation became independent. "We salute Sardar Patel on his Jayanti. His momentous service and monumental contribution to India can never be forgotten," he said.

Stressing that the diversity is India's strength, Modi said there are many languages, religion, culture, customs, lifestyles and food habits. "But these are our strength and these are our bright future. India is proud of our diversity," he said. The Prime Minister said first President of India Rajendra Prasad had said that India has become a united nation only due to administrative acumen and strong leadership of Patel but the country was not giving him due respect. Hitting back at the saffron party, the Congress said today that the BJP was "adopting" leaders like Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as its own participation in the freedom struggle was absent and accused the party of rewriting history.

Asked about the BJP's charge that Patel was not given Bharat Ratna till a non-Congress government came to power, Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan said, "This business of trying to adopt Congress leaders is a clear indication and admission by the BJP that their participation in the freedom struggle was not only missing but is totally out of context." "They are now trying to adopt Congress leaders and trying to rewrite history," he said. Vadakkan said if an award is given or not given that is history, "we are into ground reality".

"What did Sardar Patel Ji do and who did he ban, these are issues that are in public domain. Sardar Patel Ji is a Congressman, will remain in the hearts of people, awards do not matter for him," he said. The Congress leader also asserted that the party did not want certificates from anybody to celebrate their leaders.