Cong uneasy over Modi bid to hijack Patel legacy

The Congress on Thursday appeared to be uneasy over the fact that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi ­­laid the foundation stone for building the tallest statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

The refrain in the Congress was that Modi, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, was trying to appropriate the legacy of Patel, India’s first Home Minister, who had actually banned the RSS after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi, at an award function, sounded caution over the “danger from some ideologies, organisations and people who want to divide us”.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh warned about the attempts made to divide the society on the basis of religion, caste and communities.

AICC general secretary Shakeel Ahmed saw a “very dangerous design” to project Patel as a communal leader.

History would remember that Patel’s statue was built by Modi and the Congress was worried about the first home minister being projected as a communal leader.

“The coming generations should not be misled by Modi’s actions,” Ahmed said adding that the Gujarat chief minister does not have any idol to look up to and hence was trying to hijack Patel’s legacy.

A senior Congress leader also brushed aside suggestions that the party had failed to project its icons effectively by recognising their contribution to nation building.

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