Now, Modi rakes up Sardar row

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Jawaharlal NehruGujarat Chief minister Narendra Modi has whipped up another controversy. This time India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru was his target.

The BJP leader said if Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had been made prime minister of independent India (instead of Jawaharlal Nehru), the country would not witness terrorism, as it is facing today in states like Jammu and Kashmir.

“When a body of a young jawan (soldier), who laid his life fighting the terrorists in J&K arrives at his home, his wife would think — if Sardar would have been our first prime minister then there would not have been any terrorism ,” Modi said.

Sharing the dais with President Pratibha Patil, Modi, speaking at the inauguration of a community hall at the Sardar Patel National Memorial here, said that Sardar Patel, in November 1950, had written a letter to Nehru cautioning him of the threats from neighboring China.

“Sardar (Vallabhbhai Patel) had foreseen the possibilities then itself. Even today, (China) is posing new kinds of threats everyday,” Modi said.

The remarks came on a day when after a letter from Congress president Sonia Gandhi was read out at the same venue, which said “to claim that there were unbridgeable disagreements between Patel and Nehru is to distort history”.

The Congress, however, sought to turn the tables on Modi for his praise of Sardar Patel noting that the late leader had banned the RSS thrice.

“Patel was a Congress stalwart. We are very happy when any opposition leader praises him. It’s a matter of joy for us that the opposition is praising Patel, who had banned RSS thrice,” party spokesperson Shakeel Ahmad said.

The party, however, termed Modi’s Sardar Patel as prime minister remark as “cheap politics”.