Ahmedabad, Oct 29 IBNS | 2 years ago

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Tuesday welcomed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to his state Gujarat as they shared the stage at the inauguration of a museum in Ahmedabad city dedicated to the iconic leader form Gujarat Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

The Gujarat Chief Minister thanked the Prime Minister for introducing awards recognising the good governance of states under his tenure.

"Prime Ministerji, we are obliged to you for introducing awards for good governance by states under your rule," the Gujarat chief minister said.

He said the Gujarat government has received 90 such awards from the Centre.

"We thank you for recognising Gujarat state in global and international arenas due to which we have received the encouragement to practice good governance," Modi said.

He said the government along with all the people of the country should pledge to combat terrorism and Maoist threats.

However, Modi also the said that he and many others will always regret that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel did not get a chance to become the first prime minister of India.

"Had he been the first prime minister of India then the face of this country would have been different," claimed Modi.

Speaking at the event, Singh said he feels fortunate that he was given an opportunity to inaugurate a museum dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

"Patel's outlook was secular," Singh said.

"He played a great role in uniting the country," he said.

Singh said: "Today there is lack of such thoughts like those of Sardar Patel."

Singh earlier in the evening was greeted with flowers after he landed in Ahmedabad by Modi, who aspires to replace him and become the next prime minister of the country.

"Prime Minister is greeted by the Governor and Chief Minister of Gujarat on his arrival at Ahmedabad airport," the Prime Minister's Office tweeted on Tuesday.

Singh visited Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Memorial to unveil a statue and plaque at the renovated museum.

However, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma has written a letter and turned down the Gujarat chief minister's invite to attend another event in Gujarat on Thursday, where the foundation will be laid for a massive statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

Sharma, in a caustic letter, accused Modi, of "misusing the name of Sardar for political propaganda."

"It is rather odd that you have attempted to brazenly usurp the rich legacy of Sardar Patel whose approach and beliefs militate against all that is personified by the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), whose nominee you are," Sharma said in his letter.

(Posted on 29-10-2013)