Amid allegations that the BJP is trying to erase Sardar Patel's legacy by renaming a cricket stadium in the city after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the ruling party on Wednesday claimed the freedom movement icon's name was never associated with the stadium in question.
According to Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, a newly-built stadium in the city, inaugurated on Wednesday, was known by the area where it is located (Motera) and this arena has been named after Modi.
Another cricket stadium, 'Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium', is situated in the Naranpura area of the city, the BJP leader said.
"This whole allegation that the name has been changed is unfair and unfounded. The Sardar (Vallabhbhai) Patel Stadium is situated in Naranpura and owned by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation.
"However, it's no longer viable for international-level cricket matches," Nitin Patel told reporters in Gandhinagar.
"This stadium (the new one) is owned by the Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) and it was always known as the Motera Stadium. So there is no question of renaming it now."
"It was Narendra Modi, who had first floated the idea to demolish the old stadium and build a new one when he was the GCA president," said Nitin Patel.
Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju also defended the renaming of the refurbished Sardar Patel cricket stadium.
"The name of the whole Sports Complex is Sardar Patel Sports Enclave. Only the name of one Cricket Stadium, within that complex has been named as #NarendramodiStadium," Rijiju said.
"Ironically, The Parivaar, which never respected Sardar Patel, even after his death, is now making hue & cry!," he added referring to the criticism by opposition leader Rahul Gandhi.
"In 2007, Smt Sonia Gandhi came to Arunachal Pradesh and changed beautiful Arunachal University as Rajiv Gandhi University, laid foundation for Rajiv Gandhi Polytechnic, after having Indira Gandhi Park, Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, Nehru Museum, Jawahar Nehru College, list is endless...," he tweeted.
Earlier in the day, Gujarat Congress president Amit Chavda slammed the BJP over the issue of naming the stadium after Modi.
"The original stadium was built during the Congress rule in Gujarat and named after Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. It was always known as Sardar Patel Stadium."
"This renaming is an attempt to erase Sardar Patel's name. People will not tolerate this insult of the great leader," Chavda told reporters.