The Congress joined issue with BJP leader L.K. Advani after he quoted a book, which alleges that at a Cabinet meeting, convened to discuss the revolt by the Nizam of the erstwhile Hyderabad state, the then Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, called his Home Minister Sardar Patel a “total communalist.”

In the latest entry on his blog, Mr. Advani referred to the book penned by a former IAS officer M.K.K. Nair on the sharp exchanges that had allegedly taken place between Nehru and Patel at the Cabinet meeting.

Mr. Advani’s blog is significant in the context of the ongoing war of words between the BJP and the Congress over Sardar Patel’s legacy.

In a sharp reaction, Praveen Davar, secretary of the Congress’s ex-servicemen department, termed Mr. Advani’s statement “a blatant lie and attempt at falsifying history, aimed at polarising society for selfish motives.” He also challenged the BJP leader “to name the source of his baseless information and wild allegation against India’s greatest and longest serving Prime Minister who, in the words of Rajaji, was the most civilised amongst us all.”

Describing the IAS officer, who wrote the book, as close to Patel and V.P. Menon, the BJP leader maintained that the Cabinet meeting took place shortly before the so-called police action took place in 1948.

Mr. Advani quotes from the book, saying: “On April 30, 1948, Indian Army withdrew fully from Hyderabad. After that, Rizvi and the Razakars began to behave licentiously all over the state. Mountbatten had left, and Rajaji was the Governor-General. Nehru, Rajaji and Patel were all aware of the dangerous situation prevailing in Hyderabad. Patel believed that the army should be sent to put an end to the Nizam’s wantonness.”

Patel described these things at the Cabinet meeting and demanded that the army be sent to end the terror-regime in Hyderabad, Mr. Advani said. “Nehru, who usually spoke calmly, peacefully and with international etiquette, spoke, losing his composure, ‘You are a total communalist. I will never accept your recommendation.’ Patel remained unperturbed but left the room with his papers.”

Mr. Advani said the book had been written in Malayalam, and it would soon be translated into English.

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