New Delhi: Senior BJP leader L.K. Advani Tuesday said the country's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru had called Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel "a total communalist" after the then home minister demanded the army should be sent to Hyderabad to deal with the unrest.
In a latest post on his blog, Advani quoted from unedited translation of M.K.K. Nair's book, "The Story of an Era Told without Ill Will", and said the cabinet meeting which occasioned a sharp exchange between Nehru and Patel on the Hyderabad issue took place shortly before the "police action" in 1948.
Advani cited from the book and said on April 30, 1948, the Indian Army fully withdrew from Hyderabad and the Razakars, a private militia, began to behave licentiously all over the state.
The book said C. Rajagopalachari was the Governor General and Patel believed the army should be sent to put an end to the wantonness of the Nizam of Hyderabad.
It said at about that time, the Nizam sent an emissary to Pakistan and transferred a large sum of money from his government account in London to Pakistan.
The book said at the cabinet meeting Patel demanded the army be sent to end the terror-regime in Hyderabad.
"Nehru who usually spoke calmly, peacefully and with international etiquette, lost his composure and said, 'You are a total communalist. I will never accept your recommendation'. Patel remained unperturbed but left the room with his papers," Advani quoted from the book.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has been seeking to project itself as an inheritor of Patel's legacy of being a strong administrator.
Advani and BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi last month attended a function in Gujarat to lay the foundation stone of Patel's statue, slated to be the highest in the world. Modi then said the country needs "Sardar Patel's secularism and not vote-bank secularism".
At another function, Modi said the country's destiny would have been different had Patel become the first prime minister.
Advani said that Nehru was concerned about international ramifications of the situation in Hyderabad but was incensed at a meeting called by Rajagopalachari on seeing a letter from the British high commissioner which protested rape of 70-year-old nun of a convent by Razakars.
Advani said in the blog that instructions were then passed on to the army for action.