PM says governments in past tried to erase Patel’s contribution, Congress hits back | india-news | Hindustan Times
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PM says governments in past tried to erase Patel’s contribution, Congress hits back

Narendra Modi’s remarks comes ahead of the crucial electoral battle for Gujarat, where the party is hoping to cash in on Patel’s legacy.

india Updated: Nov 01, 2017 07:04 IST
HT Correspondent
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, home minister Rajnath Singh and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi at Parliament house in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, home minister Rajnath Singh and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi at Parliament house in New Delhi on Tuesday. (Arvind Yadav/HT Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday took a jibe at the Congress, saying the party tried to erase the contributions of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, India’s first home minister, in unifying the country after Independence.

The Congress, too, hit back by tweeting a picture of Patel and his remarks against the RSS.

Flagging off a ‘Run for Unity’ programme to commemorate the 142nd birth anniversary of Patel, Modi said it was his statesmanship and political acumen that prevented the colonial rulers’ wish to divide India into smaller states after Independence in 1947.

“There have been attempts to run down Patel, to ensure that his contribution 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,” Modi said without naming any government or party.

Modi went on to say that the first President, Rajendra Prasad, had also expressed pain at the attempts to forget Sardar.

After coming to power at the Centre, the BJP government has gone all out to pay tributes to Patel, invoking him as an illustrious son of Gujarat and insinuating that his contribution towards nation building were played down by the followers of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.

The party took pot shots at the Congress for ‘neglecting’ Patel and to highlight the contrast in reverence, announced the construction of a Patel statue, the world’s tallest at 182 metres.

The PM’s remarks on Tuesday, comes ahead of the crucial electoral battle for Gujarat, where the party is hoping to cash in on Patel’s legacy.

The Congress, on the other hand, launched a counteroffensive against the BJP by tweeting a picture of Patel and his remarks against the RSS: “The speeches of the Sangh (RSS) leaders are poisonous. It is as a result of this venom that Mahatma Gandhi has been assassinated…The activities of RSS constituted a clear threat to the existence of the government and state.”

The 1.5km ‘Run for Unity’, which began from the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, saw the participation of a large number of people, including sports personalities.