The day Mahatma Gandhi died, Sardar Vallabbhai Patel made a promise he never broke
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The day Mahatma Gandhi died, Sardar Vallabbhai Patel made a promise he never broke

India Today calender  30 Jan 2019

The day Mahatma Gandhi died, Sardar Vallabbhai Patel made a promise he never broke

Both the candidates for the first presidential election were from the Congress Party, but a conflict between Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Jawaharlal Nehru was on the rise regarding this. 

After independence, Patel was also a strong contender for the post of prime minister. After Nehru's appointment as the Prime Minister, Patel began to tighten his hold on the party. Patel never tried to oppose Nehru, he only wanted to control Nehru in some way.

Gandhiji was known for his punctuality, he was timely in all his affairs. On January 30, 1948, Gandhiji arrived late for the evening prayer. Nathuram Godse who assassinated Gandhiji that evening in Delhi's Birla Bhawan was already waiting for him there.

We are sure you have heard this story, but do you why Gandhiji got late for the prayer meeting?

The time of the prayer meeting was five in the evening. Gandhiji and Patel were discussing a serious issue. Patel was not happy with Nehru and how he worked as the prime minister. He visited Gandhiji and told him if Nehru did not change his way of working, he would resign from his post. Gandhi knew that without Patel, Nehru would not be able to handle the newly independent country. He asked Patel to promise him to that he won't resign from the position of deputy prime minister.

Patel would have never thought that he was meeting Bapu for the last time. He kept his promise made to Gandhi and never resigned. Patel and Rajendra Prasad were very close to each other for many years. They first worked together in 1923 when Prasad joined Flag Satyagraha in Nagpur, lead by Sardar Patel.

Rajendra Prasad wrote, "I met Sardar earlier too. But in Nagpur, I had a close interaction with him, one of the most cherished memories of my life. At the same time, there was great respect for his work-efficiency, seriousness and leadership power in my heart."

Sardar Patel wanted to rebuild the Somnath Temple. Rajendra Prasad stood by him on this. He had secretly given his support to Rajendra Prasad but never went public with this and always pretended as if he supported Nehru.

When this case caught a lot of attention, Nehru convened a meeting of the Parliamentary Party on October 5, 1949 to resolve the matter. Nehru hoped Patel would be with him. The meeting started and as soon as Nehru proposed the name of Rajagopalachari for the president's post, he was fiercely opposed. He turned to Sardar Patel in the hope he'd help.

Sardar ignored Nehru. Nehru had lost the battle and stopped his speech.

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