Nellore: Amid the Congress-BJP war of words over legacy of leaders, Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday said that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was "denied justice" during his life time and even after his death despite his contribution to the freedom struggle and unification of India.
Speaking after inaugurating a large bronze statue of Patel at Nellore in Andhra Pradesh this morning, Naidu said several great leaders made significant contributions to the freedom struggle and after, and all of them should be regarded equally and their legacies should be promoted without any discrimination.
The Parliamentary Affairs Minister recalled that Patel was an ardent follower of Mahatma Gandhi. Despite huge following and support in the Congress Party, Sardar Patel agreed to work under the leadership of Pandit Jawaharalal Nehru as per the wishes of Gandhiji and "this was a great sacrifice in national interest," he was quoted as saying in a statement here.
Naidu said Patel who was an eminent barrister gave up his practice to join freedom struggle and became Sardar after leading the peasant movement at Bardoli.
"With the interests of the nation uppermost in his mind, Sardar Patel who emerged as an eminent leader in his own right worked with Pandit Nehru for over 30 years, under the leadership of Gandhiji."
"His contribution as the Home Minister to the unification of the country and putting in place well organised civil services were evidence of his great vision and capacity to act decisively in testing times. However, Sardar Patel was denied justice during his life time and even after his death."
He said Patel was honoured with Bharat Ratna, 41 years after his death, while it could have done been much earlier.