‘BJP misrepresenting Patel’s contribution’: Shashi Tharoor
The truth is that Sardar Patel and Nehruji were a team, and they worked together as one on very many issues, says Congress MP Shashi Tharoor.Updated: Aug 07, 2019 09:04 IST
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Tuesday got into arguments with several Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders in the Lok Sabha, including home minister Amit Shah, on Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s involvement in the crafting of Article 370. In an interview with Amrita Madhukalya, he throws light on Sardar Patel’s role. Edited excerpts:
During your speech in Parliament, you said Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was involved in drawing up Article 370...
They were misrepresenting Sardar Patel’s involvement in the crafting of Article 370. The fact is Patel was very much involved. The fact is that on October 16, 1949, Nehruji, Sheikh Abdullah and Patel met together, with N Gopalaswami Ayyangar in attendance, who was a Cabinet minister without portfolio responsible for Kashmir… to discuss the matter. In the covering letter of the final summary of the deliberations… it was noted that Jawaharlal Nehruji insisted that Vallabhbhai Patel should approve it, before he writes to Sheikh Abdullah confirming Article 370. Only then, on the next day… it was sent to the Constituent Assembly.
There is criticism that Sardar Patel’s contribution has been overlooked…
The truth is that Sardar Patel and Nehruji were a team, and they worked together as one on very many issues. On where they may have had differences of opinion, they always reconciled in the spirit of comradeship and of cooperation. The whole idea on which the BJP is spending so much time trying to separate the two, and distance one from the other seems likely for their benefit. There is an attempt to twist history in a certain way… We are very proud of Sardar Patel; he’s a great Congress leader and has done a great deal of work for the country… There is no desire on our part to see the BJP misrepresent his contribution. He was a very important part of all decisions taken in those crucial years of Independence…
‘Political equivalent of demonetisation’: Shashi Tharoor on Article 370
Is the leadership vacuum in the Congress responsible for the differences in opinion in the party on Article 370?
The fact is that within Parliament, the Congress parliamentary party’s leader is Sonia Gandhiji and she has taken a clear stand as a result of discussions among all of us: that we oppose the abrogation of Article 370. That is the line the parliamentary party followed on the floor of the House. There is no confusion in the party at large. Certainly, we have freedom of expression in our party and there is no particular difficulty in that.