BJP patriarch L K Advani has referred to Islamic scholar Rafiq Zakaria to contest the Congress charges that the country’s first home minister Sardar Patel was anti-Muslim.
In his latest post, Advani, who had earlier written that the first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru described Patel as “a total communalist,” claimed that he was taken aback at a “perverse” article in a national magazine that pitched Patel as “rabidly communal in outlook”. The write-up also described Nehru as a symbol “of secular nationalism”.
The former deputy prime minister also criticised the article which had attributed the BJP’s liking for Patel to his communal ideology.
Citing Zakaria’s book that focussed on Patel and Indian Muslims, Advani said the scholar and the Congress leader himself did not have doubts over the first home minister’s view on Muslims before undertaking a research on him.
Picking up excerpts from a book, Advani quoted Zakaria as saying: “I thought he (Patel) was unabashedly anti-Muslim. Should I, therefore, I wondered, venture on a theme in lectures organised in his memory, which may be critical of him.
The more I researched, the more I was convinced that the Iron Man had been misunderstood in many respects and there were cobwebs about his attitude toward Indian Muslims, which needed to be removed. I am glad I was able to do so to my satisfaction.”
Besides Advani, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has also been attacking the Congress’ dynastic politics by claiming that Patel would have been a better prime minister.