Asserting that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel belongs to the whole country, BJP today said it is not trying to claim the legacy of the nation's first Deputy Prime Minister by installing his huge statue in Gujarat.
"(Sardar) Patel belongs to the entire country. He does not belong to one party. Some people say BJP wants to proclaim the legacy (of Sardar Patel). We don't want to. We want the entire country to claim the legacy of Sardar Patel," senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu said here.
"We want Congressmen also to claim the legacy. Please claim the legacy. Talk about the great work done by Patel. Tell the youngsters, new generation about the speeches he made," he said.
Naidu was speaking at a workshop for BJP activists from southern states on the project of installing a giant statue of Sardar Patel in Gujarat, which is the brain child of BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
He said Patel, Mahatma Gandhi and other national leaders of his times, including Jawaharlal Nehru, belonged to all.
Congress was a platform for people and leaders who wanted to fight for the country's freedom, he said.
Hailing Sardar Patel as the unifier of the country, he said every action of Patel was a message.
Brushing aside arguments as to why the statue needed to be installed instead of focusing on providing basic amenities to people, he said essential things like food should be taken care of, but Sardar Patel stood for unity and peace, which needs to be remembered.