As Prime Minister Modi unveiled 'Statue of Unity', a tribute to Sardar Patel, on October 31 marking the 143rd birth anniversary of the 'Iron Man of India', Union Minister of Law and Justice and Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad spoke to Republic TV's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami on the occasion. Lauding the contribution of Sardar Patel, he said:
"Mr. Sardar Patel was not the legacy of any political party. Sardar Patel was the icon of the country and today this grateful nation led by Prime Minister Modi is vindicating his great contribution to make India what we are as a unified nation. Let us know just three things, Sardar Patel remained alive for just three years after India became free. In that three years, out of the so many 650 plus Riyasat and he unified all. He was not handling one, Jammu and Kashmir, and the problem exists even now. If Sardar Patel would not have been there and If Hyderabad would not have been handled properly, it would have become something like Palestine".
He further questioned Congress party for 'ignoring the legacy of Sardar Patel':
"He spoke about the Civil services. The larger narrative is that his vision of India, I would like Republic TV to debate the letters that he wrote to Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru few months before his death on the challenges of the security threat in the North-East. He also warned about China which came later. If Congress party would have taken care, good luck to Congress party, I don't really want to politicise. But I want to ask just one question: He died in 1950, a true Bharat Ratna. Bharat Ratna was awarded to him after 41 years in 1991. In the meantime, you gave Bharat Ratna to Nehru Ji, Indira Ji, Rajiv Gandhi, Dr. Rajendra Prasad. Good luck, I have no problem. But why was Sardar Patel ignored? Congress party today needs to reply. For 41 years, this true son of the soil was not given Bharat Ratna. Who was the Prime Minister in 1991? P.V. Narasimha Rao and if someone from the family would have been the Prime Minister...when Atal Bihari Vajpayee gave Bharat Ratna to Jai Prakash Narayan. Aren't these facts that need to be told?"
Earlier in the day Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter and took a jibe at Modi-led and wrote that 'it is ironic that a statue of Sardar Patel is being inaugurated'. When asked about it, Mr. Prasad replied:
"Don't bring in Rahul Gandhi. The more I hear about him, I feel sorry for him. Inspite of being the President of Congress and even Sardar Patel was president of that party, Rahul is speaking such language. Let's ignore it. But can we deny that Sardar Patel's legacy was ignored? His memory was ignored? Where are the Children of Sardar Patel or Grandchildren? Are they in politics? or Rajendra Prasad? They are also the leaders who have contributed enormously for the freedom. Why the Kashmir problem still lingers after killing of people? What were the slips made when other riyasats were being amalgamated. History needs to be objective not from leftist prisim. History has to be fair".
On the statement given by senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge that PM Modi is doing politics and diverting issues, Ravi Shankar Prasad questioned:
"Mr. Kharge is an old leader. He is an old Congressman. The first reply he needs to give is that why his party which ruled India for 59 years of the 70 years India has been free, Consciously, deliberately ignored the legacy of Sardar Patel? Mr. Kharge please reply."