The Shiv Sena on Friday targeted the Centre over the renaming of Ahmedabad's Sardar Patel cricket stadium after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that the massive mandate that his government got in the last election was not a licence to act irresponsibly.
It also said that although allegations were made against the Congress and Gandhi-Nehru family in the last five years that they are trying to obliterate Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel's name from history, the renaming of the stadium has shown who is actually trying to do so.
"It seems the Modi-Shah government wants every big thing to be set up in Gujarat. There is nothing wrong in that. But they seem to have forgotten that they are leading the country... The name of Motera stadium in Ahmedabad was changed to Narendra Modi stadium. Till now, Melbourne stadium was the largest cricket stadium in the world. Now the one named after Modi is the biggest one," the Sena said in an editorial in party mouthpiece 'Saamana'.
"But why is the move drawing flak? Because earlier the Motera stadium was named after Sardar Patel, which has now been named after Modi. In the last five years, it was alleged that attempts were made by the Congress or Gandhi-Nehru family to obliterate the name of Sardar Patel. But the change in the name of Sardar Patel stadium shows who is trying to wipe out his name," it said.
There is no doubt that Modi is a great leader, but if his blind followers feel that he is greater than Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Nehru, Sardar Patel or Indira Gandhi, it should be considered the next level in blind faith, the Uddhav Thackeray-led party said.
Those who thought of renaming Motera stadium after Narendra Modi have in fact reduced his stature, it added.
"Modi is a very popular leader. People have given him massive mandate. But this mandate is not a licence to act irresponsibly. Patel and Nehru also had mandate of the people to lay the foundation stone of the country's development," the Sena said.
Nehru dedicated institutions like IITs, BARC, Bhakra Nagal project to the country. But what happened under the Modi's rule? A stadium named after Sardar Patel was renamed as Narendra Modi stadium, it said.
Those who eulogised Patel till yesterday, are now against his name for a stadium, the party said.
"It shows that Patel's importance in today's politics has ended and the same will happen to Netaji Bose after theWest Bengal polls. In Maharashtra, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's name was also used for elections," it added.
Which policies of Sardar Patel are being followed by the current government? He led the Bardoli satyagraha for the rights of farmers. But what is the farmers’ situation now? The party asked.
During the Congress meeting held in Karachi two years after the satyagraha, Patel, who was the party president then, declared that he was a farmer.
"But what is the condition of farmers in the country now. They have been protesting at Delhi borders since the last four months... They are hailing Sardar Patel. Is that the reason, the name plate at Motera stadium bearing his name was wiped out?" it asked.
But it is the people who want this. The citizens of Gujarat have accepted this change. If the people of Gujarat have no regards for Patel, then there is no need for the opposition to criticise the move, it said.