Vijaywada (Andhra Pradesh) [India], Nov 1 : The Congress on Tuesday ridiculed the celebrations on the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is a hard core 'pracharak' of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), should not forget that the latter as the Home Minister banned the right-wing organisation post Mahatma Gandhi's assassination.
Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh told a press conference that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wants to portray itself as a secular political outfit by doing stunts like celebrating Patel's birth anniversary.
"Mr. Narendra Modi is a hard core 'pracharak' (PR) of the RSS who has become the Prime Minister. The drama, which the BJP now does of being a Gandhian or following the Gandhian philosophy, is misleading.
They are now acting as if Sardar Patel was their leader. Let us not forget that Sardar Patel was the Home Minister who banned the RSS after Mahatma Gandhi's assassination.
They are projecting Sardar Patel as if he was a RSS leader," said Singh. "They want to create and aura and mislead people to say that they are democratic and they are secular.
The RSS has always been against Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Rahul Gandhi was absolutely correct that a RSS activist killed Mahatma Gandhi. No matter RSS may deny but his brother Gopal Godse himself has accepted that his whole family was a part of the RSS and believed in its ideology.
Congress has been against violence and hatred," he added. Singh further said that the BJP should accept Guru Golwalkar and Dr Keshav Baliram Hedgewar as part of the RSS before patronizing Patel.
"If they want to construct a huge statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, we are very happy about it. But I would like to remind them that why are they not constructing the statue of Guru Golwalkar, why are they shy of accepting Guru Golwalkar as their leader, why are they shy of accepting the fact that Dr Hedgewar as the founder of RSS, why? They should be bold enough to accept these facts," he said.
Singh also took the opportunity to draw a comparison between incumbent Modi and former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The Congress leader stated that Prime Minister Modi does not match the stature of Vajpayee, who believed in justice and was not a mere puppet in the hands of RSS.
"Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee was also from the Jan Sangh but he was never a pracharak. He was more modern and more liberal who believed in raj dharma, who believed in social justice. And his famous words of advice to Narendra Modi when he was the Chief Minister, 'Aapko raj dharm nibhana chaiye'," he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday honoured Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on the occasion of his 141st birth anniversary.
In response to the grand old party's accusation that he is trying to appropriate a Congress leader's legacy, Prime Minister Modi yesterday said that no Indian political party has copyright over Patel.
"I am from the BJP and Sardar Patel was from the Congress, but I still follow his ideology and beliefs which belong to no party," hesaid at the inauguration of a digital exhibition on Patel.
Prime Minister Modi said he feels "puzzled" when the people question why he was celebrating Patel's birth anniversary.
"Sardar Patel did everything for the nation. Whatever he did was devoted to India," he said. The government had last year decided to observe Sardar Patel Jayanti Day as Ekta Diwas. This occasion provides an opportunity to re-affirm the inherent strength and resilience of the nation to withstand the threats to its unity, integrity and security.