Sardar Patel’s Role Was “Not Allowed” To…: Rajnath Singh’s Dig At Congress

Rajnath Singh flagged off the ‘Run for Unity’ programme in Lucknow


Defense Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday hailed Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his 148th birth anniversary for his contribution to uniting the nation and took a veiled dig at the Congress, saying that his contribution was not allowed to be highlighted. Singh flagged off the ‘Run for Unity’ programme here to mark the 148th birth anniversary of the country’s first home minister in the presence of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

The Central government has been observing October 31 as ‘Rashtriya Ekta Diwas’ or National Unity Day since 2014 to foster and reinforce its dedication to preserving and strengthening the unity, integrity and security of the nation.

Addressing a function organised here, Singh said, “The role of Sardar Patel in bringing together small princely states and creating a united India after Independence was not allowed to be prominently highlighted before the people of the country.”

Asserting that the Narendra Modi government has been working for the past 10 years to ensure that Sardar Patel gets the respect that he truly deserves, Singh said, “In 2013, when Narendra Modi ji was declared the prime ministerial candidate, our party (BJP) had organized this programme and at that time I had flagged it off.”

”Now, after 10 years, I am flagging off the “Run for Unity” programme as defence minister. This programme is organised every year so that the youth of the country can understand the importance of Sardar Patel and take inspiration from him to spread the message of unity and integrity among the people,” he said.

Citing the names of a few places, the Union minister said that had it not been for the far-sightedness of Sardar Patel, people would need passports and visas to visit these places.

If the issue of the merger of Jammu and Kashmir had been given to Sardar Patel to handle, then the problem of Article 370 would not have risen, he said.

“On the occasion of the birth anniversary of the first home minister of the country, while we remember and pay tributes to him, we should also remember all those freedom fighters and leaders who liberated India (from British rule),” he said.

Speaking about the contribution of Sardar Patel, the defence minister said, “When India became Independent on August 15, 1947, it was an India divided into 562 princely states. The British deliberately gave the opportunity to the princely states to remain separate instead of merging them. It was because of Sardar Patel as the home minister of the country that the whole of India was able to unite.”

“It was Sardar Patel’s foresight and his strategic-diplomatic ability that the unity and integrity of India could be ensured. You all must have heard about the cases of the Junagadh Princely State and Nizamshahi (Hyderabad Princely State). Sardar Patel merged these two princely states into India,” Singh said.

“Imagine if Sardar Patel had not shown wisdom and determination, today Indians would have needed visas and passports to go to Junagadh and Hyderabad,” he said.

He said that Prime Minister Modi has got an 182-feet-tall statue of Sardar Patel constructed in Gujarat’s Kevadiya and named it ‘Statue of Unity’.

“It is bigger than the ‘Statue of Liberty’ in New York. It is a matter of good fortune for us that no statue in the world is bigger than the statue of Sardar Patel,” Singh said.

Stressing the importance of National Unity Day, the defence minister said, “Sardar Patel’s birth anniversary is a day of resolve for unity and solidarity and it is also a day for taking a pledge to maintain integrity.”

On this occasion, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, his deputies Keshav Prasad Maurya and Brajesh Pathak and other leaders also paid tributes to Sardar Patel.

Rajanth Singh also paid tributes to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on her martyrdom day.

Indira Gandhi, India’s first and only woman prime minister, was assassinated by her bodyguards on this day in 1984. 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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