In a veiled attack on India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had once said if he was dealing with the issue of Kashmir then he would have resolved it quickly.
Addressing an event on the 144th birth anniversary of India’s first Union Home Minister near Statue of Unity here, he said: “Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had once said that if the issue of Kashmir had remained with him, it would not have taken so long to resolve it.”
“They had warned the country that the unification of Jammu and Kashmir with India is the only solution. On his birth anniversary today, I dedicate the decision to remove Article 370, to Sardar Sahab. We are fortunate that we got the opportunity to fulfil Sardar Sahab’s dream,” he said.
Today, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh officially became Union Territories after the government, in August this year, abrogated Article 370 which gave special provision to the region and also took the decision of its bifurcation.
The Prime Minister said that Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are moving towards a new future on the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel.
“The new arrangements in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are not to draw lines on the ground but to create a strong link of faith. This is the belief that Sardar Patel also wished for Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh,” he said.
Speaking about the Block Development Council (BDC) elections being held for the first time in Jammu and Kashmir, Modi said: “People of J-K did not enjoy the democracy. Article 370 was used to deny them democracy. After Independence for the first time, the BDC election took place and witnessed the participation of 98 per cent of Panch-Sarpanches.”
“Now, there will be political stability in Jammu and Kashmir. Now the game of forming and toppling governments for personal selfishness will stop,” he added.
Since 2014, October 31 is observed as National Unity Day and people from all walks of life participate in the Run for Unity. Sardar Patel is credited with uniting all 562 princely states of the pre-independent country to build the Republic of India.
The Prime Minister also applauded the government’s initiative to bridge the gap between the northeastern region of India with the rest of the country.
“There was a time when the gap of mistrust between the North East and the rest of India was getting deeper. There were serious questions about both physical connectivity and emotional connectivity, but now the situation is changing today,” he said.
“Today, the isolation of the North East is turning into attachment. Decades-old problems are now moving towards a solution, liberating the entire North East from a long phase of violence and blockades,” Modi said.