Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday credited Sardar Valabhbhai Patel with uniting India after partition and said it was his timely intervention which helped save Jammu and Kashmir from “aggression”.
In his monthly ‘Mann ki Baat’ radio address, he also urged the youth to participate in large numbers in the ‘run for unity’ being organised on October 31 to mark the birth anniversary of Patel.
Modi said, “If we are able to see a united India now, it was entirely on account of the sagacity and strategic wisdom of Sardar Patel.”
He said this year, October 31 will be special as the statue of unity will be dedicated to the nation as a “true tribute” to Sardar Patel.
Erected on the banks of the River Narmada in Gujarat, the structure is twice the height of the Statue of Liberty in the US.
“This is the world’s tallest statue. Every Indian will now be proud to see the world’s tallest statue here on Indian soil. Sardar Patel, a true son of the soil will adorn our skies too,” he said.
Modi will be dedicating the statue on coming Wednesday.
He hoped that the statue will become a new tourist destination.
In his address, the Prime Minister also paid tributes to late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on her death anniversary, which is also on October 31.
“October 31 also is the death anniversary of our former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Our respectful tributes to Indira ji too,” he said.
The Prime Minister pointed out that Infantry Day is observed every year on October 27 as the first Indian soldiers had set their foot in Jammu and Kashmir to take on intruders from Pakistan.
Quoting late Field Marshal S H F J Manekshaw, he said Patel was “irked” at the delay in initiating military action to evict the aggressors.
He said, in an interview Manekshaw had recalled that as a colonel then he was part of a meeting where Patel was irked on the delay in sending troops to Kashmir.
“During the proceedings, Sardar Patel gave him (Manekshaw) a characteristic glance and reiterated that there should be no delay in our Army operation and that a solution should be sought swiftly. And immediately after that, our troops flew to Kashmir.we’ve seen how our Army was successful,” Modi said.
He recalled that in January, 1947 the Time magazine had profiled Patel and described him as a person who possessed the capability to unite the country and “heal wounds”.
Mahatma Gandhi, the PM said, considered Patel as the only one capable of finding a lasting solution to the vexed issue of the states and asked him to act.
“Sardar Patel formulated solutions one by one, weaving the warp and weft of unity on the axis of a single thread. He ensured the merger of all princely states with the Dominion of India. Whether Junagadh, Hyderabad, Travancore, or for that matter the princely states of Rajasthan, if we are able to see a united India now, it was entirely on account of the sagacity and strategic wisdom of Sardar Patel,” Modi said.