Jawaharlal Nehru Didn't Want Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Cabinet? Jaishankar's Tweet Triggers Debate, Ramchandra Guha And Jairam Ramesh Dismiss The Claim
Ramchandra Guha - S Jaishankar - Jairam Ramesh (Photo Credits: PTI/Getty Images)

New Delhi, February 13: A political debate erupted after External Affairs Minister S Jaishnkar said that he learnt from VP Menon's biography that the first Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru did not want Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in his Cabinet in 1947. Jaishankar's tweet evoked sharp responses from noted historian Ramchandra Guha and senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh who shared screenshots of letters by Nehru written in 1947, in which Sardar Patel was on top of the new Cabinet list. Did Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Have Differences With Jawaharlal Nehru? Other FAQs Related to 'Iron Man of India'.

Jaishankar, in a tweet, wrote, "Learnt from the book that Nehru did not want Patel in the Cabinet in 1947 and omitted him from the initial Cabinet list. Clearly, a subject for much debate. Noted that the author stood her ground on this revelation." The Foreign Minister was referring to a new book 'V.P. Menon: The Unsung Architect of Modern India' written by historian and analyst Narayani Basu, the great-granddaughter of the British-era civil servant. Menon oversaw the Partition and integration of princely states. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Was a ‘Man of Detail’ in True Sense of Term, Says PM Narendra Modi During Mann Ki Baat.

S Jaishankar's Tweet on Nehru and Patel:

According to Basu, Nehru did not include Patel's name in the list that he submitted viceroy, Lord Louis Mountbatten. Basu writes Menon went to Mountbatten and warned "you will start a war of succession. Congress will split in two..." Patel's name was included after Mountbatten met Mahatma Gandhi, claims the writer. Jaishankar's tweet was first retorted by Ramchandra Guha who apparently accused the minister of spreading "fake news".

Ramchandra Guha Responds:

"This is a myth that has been comprehensively demolished by Professor Srinath Raghavan in The Print. Besides, promoting fake news about, and false rivalries between, the builders of modern India is not the job of the Foreign Minister. He should leave this to the BJP’s IT Cell," Guha tweeted. Jaishankar shot back: "Some Foreign Ministers do read books. May be a good habit for some Professors too. In that case, strongly recommend the one I released yesterday."

Jaishankat Hits Back at Guha:

Guha then uploaded the picture of a letter by Nehru on August 1, 1947, inviting Patel to be part of the Cabinet where he addresses him as "the strongest pillar of the Cabinet". Taking a further swipe at Jaishankar, the historian wrote: "Sir, since you have a PhD from JNU you must surely have read more books than me. Among them must have been the published correspondence of Nehru and Patel which documents how Nehru wanted Patel as the “strongest pillar” of his first Cabinet. Do consult those books again."

Guha Backs His Claim With Screenshot of Nehru's Letter:

Later, Jairam Ramesh jumped into the debate and shared pictures of several letters written by Nehru between July 19, 1947, and August 14, 1947, in each of which Patel was "right on top of new cabinet list".

Jairam Ramesh Debunks 'Fake News':

Sardar Patel was the first Home Minister of India and played a key role in the integration of princely states into the Union of India. Nehru's critics, including Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, claim the country would have taken a different path if Sardar Patel was the first prime minister.