Aides convinced Nehru, Patel on Partition inevitability

Key aides convinced Nehru, Patel that Partition was inevitable: Jairam Ramesh

The Rajya Sabha MP also shared an interesting anecdote about Krishna Menon's resignation after the 1962 war debacle with China.

Jawaharlal Nehru's main advisor V K Krishna Menon and Vallabhbhai Patel's key aide V P Menon had convinced the two Congress stalwarts that the partition of the country was inevitable, party leader Jairam Ramesh said on Friday.

He said the two Menons did not like each other but the British Viceroy got along with both of them.

"There were two Menons out there, Patel's key advisor was VP Menon and Nehru's key advisor was Krishna Menon. Krishna Menon did not like V P Menon and the feeling was mutual. Mountbatten used to get along with both. V P Menon would meet Mountbatten to tell him what Patel thought and Krishna Menon would meet him to tell him what Nehru thought," Ramesh said during a discussion here on his new book, titled "A Chequered Brilliance: The Many Lives of V K Krishna Menon".

"In that period, Krishna Menon played an important role in convincing Nehru that Partition was inevitable.... V P Menon sold the idea of Partition to Patel. Both Menons had come round to the view that the Muslim League and the Congress could not work together," he added.

The Rajya Sabha MP also shared an interesting anecdote about Krishna Menon's resignation after the 1962 war debacle with China.

"Nehru is carrying the resignation of Krishna Menon in his Nehru jacket. He goes to a meeting of 400 Congress members of Parliament and one particularly irascible Member of Parliment, Mahavir Tyagi, gets up and says, 'Panditji, agar aapne Krishna Menon ka istifa nahi liya toh aapko istifa dena hoga' (If you have not accepted Krishna Menon's resignation, you will have to go)," he said.

"Indira Gandhi went to (then president) S Radhakrishnan and said please save my father from himself, please get him to accept the resignation," the former Union minister said.

Usually, prime ministers made recommendations to the president, but this must be the only instance in India's political history where the president recommended to the prime minister that he should accept the resignation of one his ministers, he added.

"So it was a combination of these factors which is inconceivable today. Can any member of Parliament get up (to question the PM) and say, aapne Dilli ka chunao harwaya, aap jayiye (you made us lose the Delhi election, so please go)," Ramesh said.

He also sought to set the record straight on Krishna Menon, who was vilified as the defence minister who lost the war with China.

The Congress leader said one person who escaped the blame was then finance minister Morarji Desai, who blocked defence spending, saying it would be an insult to Mahatma Gandhi. PTI ASK RC