Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi on Thursday dismissed the spat over Sardar Patel’s legacy with his one liner ‘it’s unfair to associate Patel with one Party’ and thanked Prime Minister for identifying Patel as a true secular.
He stressed that the country today needed Patel-like secularism to move ahead in the world and that is what the government should strive for.
He was addressing a gathering at the foundation laying ceremony of 183-metre tall iron statue of India’s first home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel — ‘the Statue of Unity’, at Kevadia in Narmada district.
Veteran BJP leader LK Advani was also present during the ceremony to lay the foundation stone of the Statue of Unity dedicated to Patel.
Excerpts from Modi’s speech at Kevadia in Gujarat:
• I respect the PM for saying that Sardar Patel was truly secular.
• A society which does not remember historical roots is like a tree that is uprooted. However tall such a tree may be, it dies out.
• Babasaheb Ambedkar is like God for Dalits and the oppressed.
• Sardar Patel worked to unite the country.
• The country needs the real secularism of Sardar Patel, not the secularism currently being practiced.
• It is wrong to associate Sardar Patel with any party, people like him are the pride of India.
• The BJP government conducted nuclear tests within months of coming to power at the Centre. That earned the world’s respect for India.
• People in Rajasthan thank us for providing Narmada water.
• Tribals will get Narmada water as promised.
• The project was Sardar Patel’s dream.
• Farmers and tribals won’t face problems due to the project.
• New taluka being created so that Narmada project is fast-tracked.
• The Gujarat government has decided to make Garudeshwar a taluka.
• Many people inspired me to launch this project.
• History is being created on the banks on the Narmada.