Gandhinagar: There is not a single political meeting in which the state or national leaders do not use Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s name. Mostly his name is used to target political opponents, with the one point agenda to woo voters.
On October 10, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was addressing a rally at Anand. He remembered Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and said, “Following in the footsteps of Sardar Patel, I have addressed the Kashmir issue, that is the true tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.”
In the same address, he also taunted the first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. “Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel made one India by unification of different states ruled by dynasty, whereas one person took the Kashmir issue to a different level.” He was referring to Jawaharlal Nehru’s stand of UN intervention to resolve the Kashmir issue.
While taking credit for completing the Narmada project, Modi said, “It was the dream of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, which I completed after facing lots of hardships, political and legal challenges.”
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi too is not far behind in using Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s name to woo voters in Gujarat. On his visit on September 5, while addressing the party’s Parivartan Sankalp Rally in Ahmedabad, he attacked the BJP and said, “If the BJP was seriously believing in Sardar Patel’s ideology and values, it would have never introduced the anti-farmers agriculture laws.”
Taunting the BJP, Gandhi had said, “Have you ever heard that Sardar Patel had taken permission from the British for a protest or any agitation. Completely contrary to Sardar’s philosophy, during BJP rule one has to take permission of the government for protest. Were he alive today, he would not have tolerated this rule and he would have dethroned BJP from power.”
Sardar Patel and Mahatma Gandhi were congress leaders, but now BJP has snatched away these two iconic leaders and have established that only BJP respects them and their values, this is pure political gimmicks, none of the political leaders have ever understood these two leaders or can walk in their footsteps, is the observation of Dhanji Patidar, former convener of AAP-Unjha.
His reading is that it seems that there is clarity between BJP and AAP, that AAP will not touch Mahatma and Sardar, whereas AAP will coin on Bhagat Singh and Dr. Babasaheb Ambekar. He has come to this conclusion, because during AAP national leaders’ visit to Gujarat, they never talk or ask to vote on these leaders’ names.
“If they really believed and respected in Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, they would have not changed the Motera Stadium name, the stadium was named Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel after construction in 1980’s paying him a respect, in 2021, after the renovation of the stadium it is renamed as Narendra Modi stadium, this itself explanatory, how much they respect Sardar Patel, and in fact are only using names during elections for political benefit,” complains Mithilesh Patel, president of Sardar Sanman Sankalp Samiti president.
Mithilesh Patel has even alleged they are out to erase the history of Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Subhash Chandra Bose and of the freedom movement so that they can write their own names in the pages of history.
It is most unfortunate that political leaders have divided the Patidar community on the lines of which a political party respects Sardar Patel more than others. And the more unfortunate is that people by and large are accepting such arguments and blindly following them, said a worried Pravin Patel from Gandhinagar district.
He feels sad when the Patidar community leaders are also using Sardar Patel’s name for their personal promotion and show loyalty to the community.