Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today lavished praise on Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, saying "the shape and the direction" taken by the country would have been different had he been the prime minister.
"Patel's contributions need no introduction. It was his efforts that led to the unification of several disjointed territories into a single nation. If the Indian nation owes its history to Gandhi it owes its geography to Patel", Kumar said addressing a function organized by his JD(U)'s farmers' cell on the occasion of the 142nd birth anniversary of the 'Iron Man'.
"The shape and the direction taken by the country would have been different had he been the prime minister," he said.
Kumar also said that Nehru, whom Gandhiji chose as his "successor", made his own contributions but the Mahatma's thrust on decentralisation was forgotten.
"It was Bapu's dream to see the progress of and justice to every section of the society", he said.
The chief minister said that his ambitious agriculture roadmap for 2017-2022, which is to be launched next month, is not confined to crops. It includes fisheries, animal husbandry, and the cooperative sector and intends to benefit every section of the society.
"We also plan to bring a new survey settlement of land disputes, which have been a major hurdle in agricultural progress in Bihar", he added.