HITTING BACK at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over its remarks that the Congress meted out injustice to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, senior Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil on Monday said that the BJP had insulted Patel by renaming Motera cricket stadium near Ahmedabad after Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Addressing a press conference in Rajkot, Gohil said, “I certainly believe that this country’s Prime Minister is not the Prime Minister of BJP only. He is my Prime Minister also. A few who wanted to endear themselves to him, removed Sardar Patel’s name from Ahmedabad cricket stadium and named it after the Prime Minister of the country.”
“While I am not ready to believe that Narendrabhai (Modi) could have stooped so low as to ask for such a change in name… I want to request him to order them that insult of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel won’t be tolerated and that only the name of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who was pride of Gujarat, a national leader respected globally, can be the befitting one there,” he added.
Speaking at the Rashtriya Ekta Divas event in Ekta Nagar, Kevadia on October 31, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked if the grand old party was failing to connect itself with Sardar Patel. He was referring to an advertisement published in Gujarati newspapers on behalf of the Congress government in Rajasthan that had “neither the name nor the photo of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his birth anniversary”.
The Congress leader also warned the BJP against doing politics over Patel’s name until the name change is effected.
The cricket stadium in Motera near Ahmedabad, which has a seating capacity of more than one lakh spectators, was built by Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA). Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah have served as presidents of GCA and Shah’s son Jay Shah has also served as GCA joint secretary.
“Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was called the Iron Man of India because Gandhiji had called him a man who would fight as hard as iron against injustice… Were he being subjected to injustice, Sardar saheb would not have continued with the Congress…,” said Gohil, adding the BJP was insulting Patel by accusing the Congress.
“Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel remained a Congressman for his life and to level allegations today that Congress did him injustice is an insult to Sardar saheb. The BJP’s allegation that the Iron Man served as deputy prime minister despite being meted out injustice is an insult to Sardar saheb,” he said.
Gohil said that Narmada dam was named Sardar Sarovar by the then Congress government to pay tribute to Sardar Vallabhabhai Patel. “Had the Rajiv Gandhi not accorded environmental clearance to the project, the Narmada dam wouldn’t have materialised. The Congress government named the project Sardar Sarovar Yojana.”