Sardar Patel’s Statue of Unity will be unveiled today by PM Modi which will be the tallest statue in the world. As noted by foreign media, Sardar Patel statue is a symbol of Modi’s political ego. It’s Also a time to look at these bare facts that have been hidden behind a loud propaganda in an attempt to further accelerate a narrative of belittling Nehru by Modi & BJP.
Sardar Patel’s daughter Maniben wrote in Durga Das edited ‘Sardar Patel’s Correspondence 1945-50’ that Sardar Patel never aspired to be PM of independent India. Modi and BJP have been conveniently twisting history and spreading anti Nehru propaganda about sidelining of Sardar Patel. Fact remains that Gandhi, Nehru and Sardar’s trio worked together as a team.
Check these facts that Sardar Patel admirer Modi ignored.
Industrialist Khandelwal owned Sardar Patel’s official residence 1-2 Aurangzeb Road was never attempted to be taken over or proceedings launched to buy it and turn it in to a museum or memorial by Sardar admirer Modi and never made an effort to address legal issue attached to it. Modi Govt has Rs 3000 crores for a statue but do not have Rs 300 crores for Sardar Patel’s official residence in Delhi.
In Ahmedabad’s Shahibaugh area a Sardar Patel memorial was run by Dinsha Patel (former minister), in Karmasad Sardar memorial is run by Ashok Patel, in Rajkot by Devendra Desai and in Bardoli (Sardar’s birth place) a memorial is run by Swaraj Ashram.
Many trusts in the name of Sardar Patel are being run in Delhi too but no help is extended by Modi Govt to them.
BJP has been trumpeting about injustice to Sardar Patel but 25 years of continuous rule out of which 14 years under Modi in Gujarat has yielded an ignored and dilapidated Sardar Patel Smarak Bhavan which this handle reported just a couple of days ago.
Dinsha Patel got sanctioned Rs 17 crores and Rs 3 crores for Karamsad memorial as grant for Shahibaugh, Ahmedabad memorial when he was a minister in Manmohan Singh Govt.
Sardar Patel’s official Ahmedabad residence is in Bhadra area of the city where a former BJP Municipal Councillor has encroached the property by illegal construction. The same way former Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel’s daughter Anar Patel and husband Jayesh Patel encroached upon 8 properties belonging to Gandhi Ashram.
Former BJP MP TN Chaturvedi led Committee on Sardar Patel (Modi was a member of the committee) prepared a report about building a grand memorial for Sardar Patel in Delhi which has been shelved ever since.
Till date Gujarat Govt has not provided grant for Ahmedabad’s Sardar Patel memorial. It is still being run with Rs 24 lakhs annual grant provided by Central Govt. That too has been reduced under the current Govt to Rs 15 lakhs. Rs 3.5 crores were given to Sardar Patel memorial by HD Devegowda Govt and Rs 3 crores by Manmohan Singh Govt. Dinsha Patel had requested Rs 20 crores for Ahmedabad memorial and Rs 3 crores for Karamsad memorial. Out of which Rs 17 crores were sanctioned by MMS Govt for Ahmedabad and Rs Rs 3 crores for Karamsad memorial.
Navjivan Press Trustee Vivek Desai had donated over 300 souvenirs and memorabilia belonging to Sardar Patel which have been lying with Govt without doing any thing with them.
Dr Verghese Kurian’s Milk Cooperative organisation too donated Rs 50 lakhs to Karamsad memorial.
Another uneasy fact for Modi is that in 1990 Chimanbhai Patel’s Janata Dal Gujarat Govt was ruling in Gujarat with BJP as ally. Following launch Ayodhya’ Ramjanma Bhumi agitation, BJP parted ways with Chimanbhai Patel’s Janata Dal Gujarat. Patel survived with Congress support. Meanwhile Narmada agitation too began in Gujarat by Medha Patkar and Baba Amte. Again Chimanbhai Patel fought against this agitation to save Narmada project and Sardar Sarovar dam. For this fight for Sardar Sarovar Chimanbhai was named ‘Chhote Sardar’ by his supporters.
This was the time when newly built Ahmedabad airport was proposed to be named as Sardar Patel airport by Chimanbhai Patel Govt in a proposal sent to centre. BJP protested against airport named as Sardar Patel airport and counter proposed for it to be named as Shyama Prasad Mukherjee airport. Gujarat Govt of Chomanbhai Patel & Congress insisted it will be named as Sardar Patel airport only. That’s when a young Narendra Modi and senior BJP leader (Brahmin) Ashok Bhatt went to Delhi with their demand and launched agitation.
But IK Gujral’s Govt had Praful Patel as Civil Aviation Minister and the BJP proposal was rejected. Looking at defeated proposal and rising Patidar restlessness against BJP for opposing Sardar Patel’s name, Modi & Bhatt’s BJP withdrew agitation.
With time BJP’s ideology changed and Madhavsinh Solanki’s Congress Govt crossed wires with Patels resulting in BJP usurping Sardar Patel plank and a new political propaganda against Nehru and injustice to Sardar Patel started being vehemently pushed down throats of people which over time has replaced real history. Today Modi has become a self appointed champion of Sardar Patel cause and a Statue of Unity is built with a hope of appeasing upset Patidars who have revolted against BJP with their reservation agitation which showed a diminished result in Gujarat elections 2017.
It needs to be seen how much Sardar Patel’s statue yields for BJP in 2019 elections.