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Rediff.com  » News » With Advani by his side, Modi fights for Sardar's 'legacy'

With Advani by his side, Modi fights for Sardar's 'legacy'

October 31, 2013 14:46 IST

Narendra Modi fights for Sardar's 'legacy'

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Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday hit back at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, saying Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel belonged to the whole nation and not a particular party, and that he favoured Patel's secularism and not the "vote-bank secularism" practiced by some parties.

Modi also attacked the prime minister on the issue of installing a gate on the Sardar Sarovar Dam, which has been pending for a long time. He alleged that Gujarat is being discriminated against by the Centre for political reasons.

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Photographs: Courtesy: http://www.narendramodi.in/

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Narendra Modi fights for Sardar's 'legacy'

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Taking on the prime minister for his comments on October 29 -- that he is proud Patel belonged to his party -- Modi said, "Rana Pratap, Chhatrapati Shivaji, Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru are highly respected. Were they BJP members? Will only those who belong to the BJP be given respect and honour? The country is greater than the party and those who sacrifice themselves for the country are greater."

He emphasised that nobody, not even him, can deny that Patel belonged to the Congress, but his stature was such that he was respected by all.

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Photographs: Courtesy: http://www.narendramodi.in/

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Narendra Modi fights for Sardar's 'legacy'

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"To associate Patel with one party will be a great injustice to Sardar sahab. We should not divide our legacy," Modi said.

The BJP's prime ministerial candidate, who was speaking at the inauguration of a project to build the tallest statue of Sardar Patel, also attacked Dr Singh and the Congress on the issue of secularism.

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Photographs: Courtesy: http://www.narendramodi.in/

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Narendra Modi fights for Sardar's 'legacy'

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"I would really like to honour the prime minister for saying that Patel was truly secular. We also say that Patel was truly secular. The country needs Patel's secularism and not vote-bank secularism. He was secular yet his secularism did not come in the way of building the Somnath Temple. Mr prime minister, the country needs secularism that does not divide the country but unites it," Modi said.

The BJP leader alleged that despite repeated requests to the prime minister, the gates on Sardar Sarovar Dam have not been constructed. Indicating that this was due to politics and discrimination against Gujarat, Modi said the Centre and the Congress can take all the credit for it, but it should build the gate without further delay.

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Photographs: Courtesy: http://www.narendramodi.in/

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Narendra Modi fights for Sardar's 'legacy'

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Modi said Patel had not discriminated against the rulers of independent states -- who belonged to different religions, communities, traditions and linguistic backgrounds -- while integrating the country.

Citing the example of Bhimrao Ambedkar, Modi said he is a God-like figure for Dalits and the weaker sections of society, but his life and his struggle serve as an inspiration for all.

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Photographs: Courtesy: http://www.narendramodi.in/

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Narendra Modi fights for Sardar's 'legacy'

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"His secularism brought everybody together. It did not divide. This is a united legacy. We should all be proud of it. Our heart should be for the country and for each great man of this nation," Modi said.

The Gujarat chief minister attacked the "secular" parties by invoking Mahatma Gandhi.

"Gandhi had fought to end untouchability. But another kind of untouchability still exists and that is political untouchability. We need to end it."

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Photographs: Courtesy: http://www.narendramodi.in/

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Narendra Modi fights for Sardar's 'legacy'

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Referring to the ongoing clamour among parties to own Patel's legacy, Modi said, "A party or an organisation may gain politically from such fights but the country's pride is hurt in the process."

Modi recalled that when he initiated the process to construct a Mahatma mandir in the name of Gandhi, nobody "challenged" him about a BJP leader taking such a step.

"But why this problem now?" he said.

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Photographs: Courtesy: http://www.narendramodi.in/

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Taking a dig at the Congress, Modi said it has been forced to take out advertisements in newspapers today to mark Patel's birth anniversary due to the move to build this statue.

"This is the Gujarat effect," he said.

Modi justified the decision to build the 182-metre tall statue of Sardar Patel, saying a country of 1.25 billion needs a memorial which will force the world to look up to them. 

It would also send a message of unity, he added.

Modi thanked Advani for gracing the occasion.

Earlier, in his speech, Advani praised Modi, saying it gives him great joy to be present at the inauguration of this project by a person chosen by his party as its PM candidate.

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Photographs: Courtesy: http://www.narendramodi.in/

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