The upgraded and renovated Sardar Patel Memorial Museum was inaugurated here today at a function here whose chief guest was Prime Minsiter Manmohan Singh.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Governor Kamla Beniwal, Union Ministers Praful Patel, Tushar Choudhary and Bharat Solanki, were also present during the occasion.
When Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel would have changed the face of post-Independence India had he been the first Prime Minister, Union Minister Dinsha Patel remarked: “Some people only talk; others only work. Sardar Patel belonged to the latter category and he united 562 princely states with the Union of India”.
Indirectly referring to a recent Modi claim that Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru did not attend Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s funeral in 1950, the Prime Minister recalled how the Sardar spoke very highly of Nehru as a respected friend and colleague, despite differences, and how Nehru, in a resolution passed soon after his deputy’s demise, enumerated the Iron Man’s contribution to modern India’s unity and integrity.
“Sardar Patel was a completely secular and broad-minded leader,” he remarked, adding, “I belong to a party, the Indian National Congress, to which Patel, too, belonged.”
When Modi recalled how Sardar Patel, as a councilor in the then Ahmedabad Municipality, had got a resolution unanimously passed for women’s reservation in 1919, Dinsha Patel corrected him that it happened in 1926.
A mainly Congress Party event, Modi was presented a bouquet not by any Congress leader but by Nirma Group Chairman Karsanbhai Patel, Vice-Chairman of the Sardar Patel Memorial Society, whose chairman is Dinsha Patel.
Earlier, Singh, who arrived here amid tight security on a brief visit, went to the Gandhi Ashram on the banks of Sabarmati River and also the Rajiv Gandhi Bhavan, the Gujarat Congress headquarters.
The erstwhile Motishahi Mahal, later a Raj Bhavan too after Gujarat was carved out of Bombay State in 1960, was acquired by the State Government in 1969 and turned into a Sardar Patel Memorial.
The memorial has been upgraded into a museum with the UPA Government chipping in with Rs 17 crore. The room where Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore had once stayed for six months, has also been done up and Sardar Patel’s personal belongings, citations and other articles preserved at the new museum.