In his blog, Advani expressed surprise at a ‘perverse’ article in a national magazine which quoted records branding Patel as a man "rabidly communal in outlook" and Jawaharlal Nehru as a symbol "of secular nationalism". The article said this was the reason Sangh Parivar ‘worships one and hates the other’.

Quoting Islamic scholar and Congress leader Rafiq Zakaria's book based on his lectures on "Sardar Patel and Indian Muslims", Advani said the leader too was under the impression that Patel did not like Muslims.

"I thought he (Patel) was unabashedly anti-Muslim. Should I, therefore, I wondered, venture on a theme in lectures organized in his memory, which may be critical of him," Zakaria wrote.

"The more I researched, the more I was convinced that the ‘Iron Man’ had been misunderstood in many respects and there were cobwebs about his attitude toward Indian Muslims, which needed to be removed. I am glad I was able to do so to my satisfaction," Advani quoted from the book in the blog.

Zakaria said former Solicitor General of India Fali Nariman wrote to him that he enjoyed listening to the lectures and so did Justice Chapalgaonkar of the Mumbai High Court.

"Many others also felt that I was able to present an objective analysis of Patel's attitude to Indian Muslims, which was sorely needed in the present situation which is so vitiated by communal poison," Zakaria wrote.

Attempts led by BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi to claim Patel's legacy has fuelled a spat between the saffron outfit and Congress in recent months with Modi suggesting that Patel would have made a better PM than Nehru.


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