Congress leader Manish Tewari today accused Narendra Modi and BJP of trying to appropriate Sardar Patel's legacy, which "belongs to Congress", and reminded that Patel had said that it was the "communal poison of RSS" which killed Mahatma Gandhi.
The party hit out at Narendra Modi on Patel issue on a day, when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is sharing dais with him in Ahmedabad at a function to inaugurate a museum dedicated to life of India's first Home Minister and freedom fighter Patel.
"For last few months, BJP is trying to usurp the legacy of Sardar Patel. History is witness to the fact that those who do not have any history of legacy try to appropriate the same of others. My advice to the Gujarat Chief Minister, who is the Prime Ministerial candidate of the BJP and a RSS Swayamsevak is that he should study what the legacy actually is that he is trying to appropriate," Union Minister Manish Tewari told reporters.
"On September 9, 1948, Patel, the then Home Minister of the country had written to RSS founder M S Golwalkar in which the former had said that as a final result of communal poison, the country had to suffer the sacrifice of life by Mahatma Gandhi. Patel referred to communal poison spread by RSS that Golwalkar headed. Does Swayamsevak Modi agree with Patel or endorses his views RSS. Whose legacy they crave," he said.
BJP has often accused Congress of ignoring Patel's legacy and promoting Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. Narendra Modi, who has often criticised UPA of "weak response" on terrorism and handling Pakistan had also been making a big issue of his proposed plan to construct the longest statue of "iron man" Patel in Gujarat by collecting iron pieces from farmers across India.
Slamming the BJP over the move, party general secretary Digvijay Singh said that BJP now wants to project as their ideal Patel, who had banned the RSS after the killing of Gandhi.
"First they promised a Ram temple to us, collected donations but the temple was not built...first they sold off the bricks now they will sell iron."
Tewari said there is no