Bardoli/Guwahati, Feb 8 :
A war of words broke out between Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi over constructing a statue of India’s first home minister Vallabhbhai Patel.
Gandhi said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) did not understand Patel’s ideology but was erecting his statue, to which Modi hit back, saying the Congress has “forgotten Patel”.
The Gandhi scion, speaking at a rally in Bardoli in Gujarat, said: “Those who do not understand the ideology of Sardar Patel want to make his statue.”
He added: “A poisonous mentality killed Mahatma Gandhi.”
Meanwhile, Modi at his rally in Guwahati, said the Congress has forgotten the ideology of Patel.
“Everyone says that you are from BJP and a part of RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) and you are constructing the statue of unity… For you, he must be just a party leader (of Congress), for us, he us a national leader,” Modi said.
“Sardar Patel is a national figure. He doesn’t belong to any party. The Congress has forgotten him. We have forced them to remember him after 60 years,” he added.
Modi has announced the statue of Patel on the banks of the Narmada in Gujarat, would be the tallest in the world.
RSS Hits Back
The RSS Saturday hit back at Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, who had accused the BJP of not understanding Sardar Patel, saying he had no right to speak on the issue since his party had disowned the late leader’s ideology.
“Ideally we don’t react to kindergarten comments… He (Rahul Gandhi) should read history first,” Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader Ram Madhav told TV channel Times Now.
“Are they ready to accept Sardar Patel’s ideology as Congress’ ideology? They have given up the ideology of Sardar Patel and Mahatma Gandhi,” he claimed.
Reacting to Gandhi’s comment that Patel banned the RSS in the wake of the Mahatma’s assassination, Madhav said the ban was lifted after eight months.
“Patel did ban the RSS but within eight months he revoked the ban saying RSS had nothing to do with the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi,” he added.