India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said some parties and governments in the past had tried to run down and erase the contributions of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in “unifying” India immediately after independence.
He said that it was Patel’s “farsightedness” that he used every tactic and strategy to keep India united after independence as the British tried their best to divide the country and ruin India as a 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 while flagging off a run in New Delhi to commemorate the 142nd birth anniversary of Patel, India’s first home minister and deputy prime minister.
Earlier this month, India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that there would have been no “Kashmir problem” if the country’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru had given a “free hand” to Patel.
“Had then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru given free hand to Sardar Patel to merge Jammu and Kashmir with Indian Union like Hyderabad and Junagarh then today we would not have been facing Kashmir issue,” Singh had said while addressing a rally in Gujarat.
“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,” Modi said in an apparent dig at the Congress party. “The youth of India respects him and his contribution towards the building of our nation,” he said.
Modi 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. “Rajendra Babu must be happy now, wherever is his soul, that we are remembering the contribution of Patel even though some people tried to run down and erase his contribution.The nation will continue to remember Patel,” he said.