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PM, Modi spar over Sardar Patel in Ahmedabad

Last updated on: October 30, 2013 08:08 IST

PM, Modi spar over Sardar Patel in Ahmedabad

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In a veiled attack on Jawaharlal Nehru, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said the country's destiny would have been different if Sardar Patel had become the first prime minister.

Sharing the dais with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Ahmedabad, he credited Patel, the first home minister, with uniting the country and said the same unity and integrity was under threat from terrorism and Maoism at present.

"Every Indian still regrets that he (Patel) did not become the first prime minister. Had he been the first prime minister, the country's destiny would have been different," he said in comments that may be seen as an attack on Nehru.

The BJP's prime ministerial candidate was speaking at a function to inaugurate a museum dedicated to Sardar Patel, who was born in Gujarat.

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Image: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi greets Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Ahmedabad
Photographs: Narendra Modi's website

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PM, Modi spar over Sardar Patel in Ahmedabad

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Invoking Patel, Modi said the first home minister was instrumental in uniting the country after Independence.

"That unity and integrity of the country today is under threat from all fronts, be it terrorism or Maoism," he said, adding Singh himself had said that Maoism is a great threat to the country.

Meanwhile, Singh said Mahatma Gandhi was a source of eternal inspiration and his life and work will continue to inspire the world for generations to come.

Singh retorted by quoting the Cabinet resolution on Sardar Patel: "A great Indian and an unmatched warrior in the course of freedom... a lover of India."

PM quoted Patel on Nehru, "We have always respected each others advice and only people who have faith in each other can do this."

The prime minister even took a dig at Modi. "Patel was secular, proud to belong to his Congress party. We are here to honour a proud son of India and Gujarat. He was among India's biggest leaders. I am proud to belong to the Congress," he said.


Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Gujarat Governor Kamala Beniwal
Photographs: Narendra Modi's website

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