Congress says 'run for unity' shows hypocrisy of Modi, BJP
New Delhi: Congress today scoffed at what it called BJP's attempts to appropriate the legacy of its leader Sardar Patel, demanding that the government release the communique "banning" the RSS by the first Home Minister after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.
Party's senior spokesman Anand Sharma also dismissed the "run for unity" organised by BJP-led government on the occasion of 140th birth anniversary of Sardar Patel, calling it "hypocrisy" against the backdrop of protests by artistes, writers and scientists over alleged "rising intolerance" after the Dadri lynching, beef row and other incidents.
He wanted the Narendra Modi dispensation to release the speaking order of Sardar Patel banning the RSS as also the correspondence he had with the then RSS chief MS Golwalkar and Shyama Prasad Mukherjee of the Jan Sangh.
"After they (those in the BJP and government) read it, they will start running in the opposite direction," Sharma told reporters.
Taking a jibe at the ruling dispensation, he said Sardar Patel was a stalwart of the Congress who worked along with Pandit Nehru, Maulana Azad and Rajendra Prasad in the freedom struggle.
"They do not have heroes and icons and therefore they are borrowing them and borrowing them foolishly.... Sardar Patel had taken important decisions and one of them was banning the RSS."
"Sardar Patel had given a detailed order banning the RSS... First they should read it, then they will run in the opposite direction," Anand said.
He claimed the Prime Minister and the government had not paid homage to Indira Gandhi who died on this day for the cause of unity of the country.
Sharma claimed that the RSS during the correspondence with Sardar Patel had agreed to stay away from politics and to remain just a socio-cultural organisation.
The Congress attack on the BJP and the Prime Minister came on a day when they invoked Sardar's work for national integration.
The Prime Minister said "unity, peace and harmony" was the first condition if India has to move forward and attain new heights of development.
At the National Unity Day to mark birth anniversary of India's first Deputy Prime Minister, Modi flagged off 'run for unity'.
The Congress leader said that the Prime Minister has shown his "petty mind" by not remembering Indira Gandhi on her death anniversary. Sharma downplayed Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu's remarks that had Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel been the first Prime Minister of India things would have been different. Naidu had also said that history has not done justice to the memory of the leader.
"The decision to make Nehru the first Prime Minister of India was taken by a pantheon of leaders including Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel. Naidu has not read what Sardar has written about Nehru. I will send it to him....Nehru was one of the tallest leaders in the world," Sharma remarked.
Asked about BJP's criticism of dynastic politics and the charge that the Congress does not see beyond Gandhi family, Sharma noted, "We also had Prime Ministers like Lal Bahadur Shastri, Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh who were not part of the Gandhi family".