Congress pays tribute to Sardar Patel on his birth anniversary
Congress leaders including Mallikarjun Kharge and Jairam Ramesh expressed their respect for Patel's contributions, emphasising his role in shaping India's Constitution and preserving its independence
The Congress on Tuesday paid rich tribute to India's first home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his birth anniversary, with party chief Mallikarjun Kharge hailing his contribution in uniting the country.
Born in Gujarat in 1875, Patel was a lawyer and emerged as a leading Congress leader and associate of Mahatma Gandhi during the Independence struggle.
As the first home minister of Independent India, he is credited with uniting hundreds of princely states into the Union with his mix of persuasion and firmness.
In a post on X, Kharge said, "Tributes to the man who united the entire country, the iron man of India, the country's first deputy prime minister, former Congress president and our source of inspiration, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel ji, on his birth anniversary."
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh, in a post on X, said a grateful nation celebrates the 148th birth anniversary of the one and only Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. "On February 13, 1949, while unveiling a bronze bust of his, Jawaharlal Nehru had said: 'Sardar Patel, after all, is not of Gujarat alone; he belongs to the whole of India. He has drawn the map of free India. He has had a great hand in securing the independence of India and later contributed greatly to preserving it'."
It must be noted here that Nehru went against his own beliefs and made an exception in Patel's case by inaugurating the bronze bust of Patel during his lifetime, Ramesh pointed out.
The previous day Nehru had described his visit to Vallabh Vidyanagar which was being built near the Sardar's birthplace as "a pilgrimage", he notes. His remarks at both places reveal the special relationship he and the Sardar enjoyed for three decades, Ramesh said.
"The Sardar's role in the integration of princely states is well-known. Equally crucial was his chairmanship of the Advisory Committee on Fundamental Rights, Minorities and Tribal and Excluded Areas which shaped the country's Constitution so very decisively," the Congress general secretary said.
The Congress also paid tributes to Patel on X. "We will always be indebted to Patel ji for his immense contribution in nation building," a post on the party's official X handle said.