Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi may have unveiled the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel but his government has been smashing his legacy, and added that “destruction of institutions” is “nothing short of treason”.
“Ironic that a statue of Sardar Patel is being inaugurated, but every institution he helped build is being smashed. The systematic destruction of India’s institutions is nothing short of treason,” Gandhi said in a tweet.
Gandhi’s remarks came hours after Modi unveiled a statue of Sardar Patel, which at 182 metres is the tallest statue in the world. The statue — christened “Statue of Unity” — was unveiled at an elaborate function on Sadhu Bet Island in Narmada river in Gujarat on Sardar Patel’s birth anniversary.
The Congress party has accused the government of creating a “credibility crisis” in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and trying to destroy autonomous institutions like the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
The party has also alleged that institutions like Enforcement Directorate (ED), Income Tax Department, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), besides central universities, are being damaged.
In an earlier tweet, Gandhi said Sardar Patel was a Congressman to the core who had no tolerance for bigotry or communalism and fought for a united and secular India.
“Sardar Patel was a patriot, who fought for a independent, united and secular India. A man with a steely will, tempered by compassion, he was a Congressman to the core, who had no tolerance for bigotry or communalism. On his birth anniversary, I salute this great son of India.”
Party leader Anand Sharma targeted the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), saying Sardar Patel’s legacy cannot be appropriated and history cannot be rewritten.
“True tribute to Sardar Vallabhai Patel will be to genuinely absorb his message of national unity, uphold the principles and values that he espoused. His legacy cannot be appropriated. History can not be rewritten or distorted. Those who try to do so will not be forgiven by history,” he said in a tweet.
Sharma added that Sardar Patel was a close associate of Gandhi and one of the tallest Congress leaders.
“His memory will always inspire us and a grateful nation will remember him with respect.”
Congress communications Incharge Randeep Singh Surjewala also attacked Modi in a series of tweets and posed him questions.
“Did Sardar Patel not ban RSS, your parent organisation, for anti-national activities on February 4, 1948? Will you at least repent today? Did Sardar Patel not write to then RSS chief M.S. Golwalkar on September 11, 1948 that ‘RSS men distributed sweets over Gandhiji’s killing’?
“Modiji, did Sardar Patel not held the ideology of RSS responsible for assassination of Bapu? Did not associates of your ideologue Syama Prasad Mookerjee want to hang Patel and Pandit Nehru publicly?” he threw posers in a series of tweets in Hindi.
He said Patel had written to Nehru on February 5, 1948 that they had been comrades for their entire lives for a purpose and their love for the country kept them together and enabled them to work together for the Congress and the nation.