Gandhinagar: In a veiled attack on the Congress party, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said it was most unfortunate that Sardar Patel was given the Bharat Ratna 41 years after his death.
"Ironically, Sardar saheb has not got his dues from the same party to which he devoted his entire life," he said, paying tributes to the late leader of the freedom struggle, who hailed from Gujarat, on his 137th birth anniversary.
"What could be more unfortunate than the fact that Sardar Patel was honoured with Bharat Ratna in 1991, a full 41 years after his demise?"
Attributing the "turbulence" in Kashmir to Patel not getting a free hand after India became independent, Modi said had Patel got a free hand in dealing with Kashmir's accession to India, things would have been very different.
"It was Sardar Patel's swiftness that ensured Kashmir was not taken away by Pakistan just a couple of months after Independence. This was the only province with which he was not given a free hand," Modi said.
"It is not only about Kashmir - I say this very often that had this country adopted direction shown by Sardar Patel, the situation would have been different." The integration of Junagadh into Saurashtra was one example of his vision to create a united India, Modi said.