Paying glowing tributes to the first home minister of the country Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel at a function in Hyderabad, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi on Sunday criticised Jawaharlal Nehru, blaming him for the unresolved Kashmir issue.
Every generation of Indians had felt that Patel should have been the first Prime Minister (instead of Nehru), he said, after unveiling Patel's statue at Keshav Memorial High School here this evening.
"It was Sardar Patel who took the military action against Nizam to ensure Hyderabad's integration with India after the Independence....Pandit Nehru had said no to Sardar's proposal of military action, but when Nehru went abroad, Sardar took the decision and we were saved," Modi claimed.
"Nehru gave Patel the task of integrating 500 states into India, however, he kept Kashmir issue with himself...," he said.
While Patel successfully did his job, Nehru, who was proud of Kashmir as his ancestral place, failed to sort out the issue, Modi said, adding "that is why the problem festered and is plaguing us even today. This can be seen in Kishtwar, which is burning".
Kashmiri Pandits were still being harassed, he said, adding "seeing all this reminds one of Sardar, pains one." "For political reasons" Patel's contribution to nation-building was downplayed, the BJP election campaign chief alleged.
"Every generation of Indians has felt that he should have been the first Prime Minister of the country, which (this perception) is a great tribute in itself. After Chanakya, it was Sardar who strove to integrate the country," Modi said.
He also mentioned that Gujarat government was going to build Patel's statue -- 'statue of unity' -- and the work would begin by October 31.