Modi trying to ‘usurp’ Sardar Patel’s legacy: Congresshttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/modi-trying-to-usurp-sardar-patels-legacy-congress/

Modi trying to ‘usurp’ Sardar Patel’s legacy: Congress

Several other Congress leaders also criticised Modi,reminding him that it was Patel who had banned the RSS.

Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma on Tuesday launched a scathing attack on Gujarat CM Narendra Modi,accusing him of trying to “brazenly usurp the rich legacy” of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and “misusing” the “stalwart Congress leader’s name” for “political propaganda”.

Several other Congress leaders also criticised Modi,reminding him that it was Patel who had banned the RSS.

In his strongly-worded letter to Modi,Sharma,who turned down Modi’s invitation for the “ground-breaking ceremony” of the statue,said Patel’s “approach and beliefs militate against all that is personified by the RSS,whose nominee you are.” He said that Modi has “developed an expertise in misrepresenting the facts and distorting history.”

Reminding Modi that it was Patel who had banned the RSS for “inciting communal violence”,Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh accused the BJP and RSS of trying to appropriate both Mahatma Gandhi and Patel. “They have no leader who they can claim was in the freedom movement,” he said.

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“History is witness to the fact that those who do not have any history of legacy try to appropriate the same of others,” said Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari. He said Patel believed that the “communal poison” spread by the RSS resulted in Gandhi’s assassination. “Does Swayamsevak Modi agree with Patel or endorse his views,” he asked.

The concerted attack by the Congress came on a day when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh shared the stage with Modi at the inauguration of a museum dedicated to Patel in Ahmedabad.

In his letter,Sharma reminded Modi that Patel was a “strong nationalist,deeply secular in belief and worked tirelessly for communal harmony” and said the RSS had given an undertaking to Patel that it would not indulge in politics and would remain devoted “purely to cultural work” to get the ban revoked.

“I hope you will take a moment to reflect on the truth of Indian history and not question the wisdom of our youth. Perhaps,the nation could not have expected anything different from you,as over the years you have developed an expertise in misrepresenting the facts and distorting history,” he wrote.

“It is imperative that his memory is not coloured by partisan political agenda,as is unfortunately happening in the present case. Misusing the name of Sardar for political propaganda,as you chose to do at the rally,with a deliberate untruth was a disrespect to his memory,” wrote Sharma.

Gujarati daily disowns report

AHMEDABAD: Gujarati daily Divya Bhaskar on Tuesday disowned its earlier report quoting Narendra Modi as saying that late PM Jawaharlal Nehru did not attend Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s funeral. The report,published on October 27,had kicked up a storm,with senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh posting a page from late PM Morarji Desai’s autobiography that put on record Nehru’s presence at Patel’s funeral.

In its clarification,Divya Bhaskar said the statement attributed to Modi was not based on an authorised interview to its reporter. “Divya Bhaskar has clarified on a statement about Sardar Patel’s funeral wrongly attributed to me. I thank them for it,” tweeted Modi. ENS