Ahmedabad, Oct 29 (IANS) Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said Tuesday that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel would have "changed the fate of the country" if he had been India's first prime minister.
"I wish Sardar Patel had become the first prime minister of India. This will remain our regret," the BJP's prime ministerial candidate said at the inauguration of a museum dedicated to Sardar Patel.
"If Sardar Patel would have been our first prime minister, then the face and fate (tasvir aur takdir) of the country would have been completely different," Modi said.
"Patel was a visionary. In 1919 when he was a councilor in Gujarat, he had made sure that the women's reservation bill was passed," he said.
Modi was sharing the stage with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was the chief guest at the occasion.
The event was organised by the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Memorial Society. Gujarat Governor Kamla Beniwal and central Minister of State for Mines Dinsha Patel, who heads the society, were also present.
The Gujarat chief minister has in the past criticised the Congress for allegedly ignoring Sardar Patel, who was home minister in Jawaharlal Nehru's cabinet and was widely known as the "Iron Man".