New Delhi, Oct 31 (IANS) In a veiled attack on Congress and its previous governments, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that some political parties and governments tried to obliterate Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s name from the history books or tried to diminish his stature by ignoring his contribution in unifying the country after independence.
The attack came against the backdrop of Gujarat Assembly elections when a fight over the legacy of Patel has intensified between the BJP and its rivals in the state as they seek to woo the Patel community.
“Patel was not introduced to the new generation as he deserved. Attempts were made either to erase his name from the history or to diminish him. But history is evidence that whether any government accepted him or not or any political party gave importance to him or not but the youth of the country will never forget him even for a while. They will not allow him to be banished from history,” Modi said while flagging off the ‘Run for Unity’ on the birth anniversary of the first deputy Prime Minister celebrated as “National Unity Day” here.
Modi also invoked first President Dr. Rajendra Prasad to prove that how attempts were made to run down the contributions of Sardar Patel despite his great contribution to the country.
“Today his (Dr Prasad) soul will be happy to see that Sardar Patel has not been forgotten. Rajendra Babu had said that if we proudly take the name of India, it became possible because of Sardar Patel’s statesmanship and due to his strong hold on the administration. Despite this we forgot him very early. This was the pain expressed by Rajendra Babu.
“Today we are celebrating his birth anniversary with organising ‘Run for Unity’ across the country. Although some people tried to ensure that contribution of Patel was forgotten but he is still alive in the hearts of people and inspiring the youth,” Modi said.
Likening the Raksha Bandhan festival with celebration of “Run for Unity” programme, Modi justified the celebration of Patel’s birth anniversary as ‘Run for Unity’.
“Love between a brother and sister can never but despite we celebrate the festival of Raksha Bandhan to purify the relationship. Despite our rich cultural heritage we need to purify it every time. We need to remember the mantra of unity,” he said.
He said that it was Patel’s farsightedness that he used every tactic and strategy with “saam, daam, dand, bhed” to keep the nation united after the independence as the Britishers tried their best to divide the country and ruin India as a nation.
Highlighting the contribution of Patel, Modi said: “Using his skills, and determination Sardar Patel saved India from the problems that emerged soon after Partition. “He ensured India did not remain split into small princely states.”
Modi also emphasised that “our country should remain one”. “The country that Patel has given, retaining its unity is the responsibility of all Indians.”
“Therefore, all generations should know how he maintained that unity. We are celebrating his birth anniversary as ‘Rashtriya Ekta Diwas’,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister said India is proud of its diversity, and occasions such as “Run For Unity” offer us an opportunity to reinforce that sense of pride and oneness.
The Prime Minister also administered a pledge to keep the nation united to the participants of Run For Unity.
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