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Shah at school event- The New Indian Express

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By Online Desk

NEW DELHI: There is a public opinion that if Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had been made India’s first prime minister, the country would not have faced many problems, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Monday. He was addressing students and teachers of the Sardar Patel Vidyalaya in Delhi on the 147th birth anniversary of Patel, India’s first home minister. The school is run by the Gujarat Education Society.

Recently, a group of more than 200 alumni of the school had written to the management objecting to the Home Minister being invited as a chief guest at the event.

The alumni said that the invite goes against the ethos of the school and will make it vulnerable to criticism in the current “climate of polarisation”. 

“In the current climate of polarisation, inviting a political figure of his ilk will make the school vulnerable to criticism and will undermine its ethos that stands for the Constitution and pluralism,” they said in the letter.

The alumni went on to say that as a senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the political front of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Amit Shah stands in opposition to the ideals of Sardar Patel, that have been inculcated in them by the school. “Despite attempts by the BJP to appropriate Patel in recent years, it would be prudent to remember that he had banned the RSS in 1948 after Gandhi’s assassination while he was the home minister,” they said in the letter.

Patel was born on October 31, 1875 at Nadiad in Gujarat.

The central government has been observing October 31 as ‘Rashtriya Ekta Diwas’ or National Unity Day since 2014 to foster and reinforce its dedication to preserve and strengthen the unity, integrity and the security of the nation.

(Photo | PTI)

Talking about Patel at the event, the home minister said that students and children should read up on him to know about his vision for a united India with deep roots for democracy. 

Shah recalled Patel’s role in bringing together and merging more than 500 princely states to the union of Indian after Independence. “Sardar Patel was not only a man of imagination but he worked very hard to implement his vision. He was a ‘karmayogi’,” Shah said.

“A man who is remembered long after his death can only be called great, that was Sardar. There is a public opinion in the country that if Sardar was made the first prime minister of India, the country would not have faced many problems it is facing today,” he said.

Amit Shah also said basic education should be imparted in local language, and urged students to keep their native languages and dialects alive.

The home minister also expressed his condolences to the families of those who died in Gujarat’s Morbi bridge collapse on Sunday, saying the entire country was saddened by the tragic accident in which many children also lost their lives.

(With inputs from PTI)

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