'Modi must explain if he agrees with Patel's views'
PM Manmohan Singh will inaugurate the national memorial of Sardar Patel in Ahmedabad on Tuesday to reinforce the idea that the Congress hasn’t forgotten the man who reintegrated India after Independence as has often been alleged by the BJP.india Updated: Oct 29, 2013 13:36 IST
The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party are all set for a new battle ahead of 2014 elections - fighting to claim the legacy of India's first home minister and Congress leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will inaugurate the national memorial of Sardar Patel in Ahmedabad on Tuesday to reinforce the idea that the Congress has not forgotten the man who reintegrated India after Independence as has often been alleged by the BJP.
And two days after that, on the 138th birth anniversary of the Iron Man, Gujarat chief minister and BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone for Patel's 182-metre statue, named the Statue of Unity, in the middle of the Narmada riverbed facing Sardar Sarovar Dam.
Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh has already begun the battle over Patel on Twitter.
He recently tweeted, "BJP and RSS have been trying to appropriate Gandhiji and Patel as they have no leader who they can claim to be in the Freedom Movement.Sad !... I compliment Modi for building Sardar Patel's statue at Sardar Sarovar. LOH PURUSH who banned RSS for inciting communal violence."
Hours before the function in Ahmedabad, information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari also criticised Modi for allegedly appropriating Patel's legacy.
He said: "I want to ask the BJP and its newly appointed pretender whether they truly accept the beliefs of Sardar Patel."
"Narendra Modi must explain if he agrees with Sardar Patel's views on RSS," he added.
"Sardar Patel blamed RSS' communal poison for the sacrifice of Mahatma Gandhi. Modi must explain if he agrees with Patel's views."
Sardar Patel memorial
Patel's memorial is located at the Moti Shahi Mahal which was constructed by Mughal emperor Shahjahan between 1618 and 1622.
The palace was used by the British, when Ahmedabad was established as a cantonment in the mid-nineteenth century, for government purposes.
After Independence, the palace was turned into the Raj Bhavan - the official residence of the governor of Gujarat, from 1960 to 1978.
The central hall is filled with portraits of Patel, his family, friends and colleagues during the Indian freedom struggle.
They carry biographical descriptions of periods of his life, and quotes by his colleagues and admirers.
Two of the four adjacent rooms house relics of Patel's life.