He does not belong to one party. Some people say BJP wants to proclaim the legacy (of Sardar Patel). We don't want to. We want the entire country to claim the legacy of Sardar Patel," senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu said here. "We want Congressmen also to claim the legacy. Please claim the legacy.
Talk about the great work done by Patel. Tell the youngsters, new generation about the speeches he made," he said. Naidu was speaking at a workshop for BJP activists from southern states on the project of installing a giant statue of Sardar Patel in Gujarat, which is the brain child of BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
He said Patel, Mahatma Gandhi and other national leaders of his times, including Jawaharlal Nehru, belonged to all. Congress was a platform for people and leaders who wanted to fight for the country's freedom, he said. Hailing Sardar Patel as the unifier of the country, he said every action of Patel was a message.
Brushing aside arguments as to why the statue needed to be installed instead of focusing on providing basic amenities to people, he said essential things like food should be taken care of, but Sardar Patel stood for unity and peace, which needs to be remembered.
Sardar Patel also stood for good governance, patriotism and inclusive growth, Naidu said.
He claimed that only one family is highlighted in the last 50-60 years though Nehru's contribution to national building cannot be undermined.
"We have no problem in projecting that family also. We have nothing against Jawaharlal Nehru. We may differ with him on some policies. He is also a great patriot," he said.
Patel also stood for good governance, patriotism and inclusive growth: Naidu
"But, to ignore others and not do anything for their memory and only one family trying to apportion the entire credit, that is not acceptable to the country. There is a need to set right historical destructions," the BJP leader said.
Noting that he does not want to belittle anyone, he claimed that there was an overwhelming view, including Babu Rajendra Prasad and C Rajagopalachari, that Patel should have been the first Prime Minister.
He also quoted from remarks said to have been made by late Maulana Abul Kalam Azad in support of Patel. Naidu reiterated BJP's demands for a uniform civil code in the country, abrogation of Article 370, banning religious conversions, communal reservations among others.
Pseudo-secularism and vote-bank politics posed a threat to the country, he added. The workshop was attended several BJP leaders, including ministers from Gujarat.
Hailing Sardar Patel, who merged the erstwhile Hyderabad into Indian Union peacefully, Gujarat Minister Saurabh Patel said, "Had it not been for Patel, we would have required to take a visa to come to Hyderabad."