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S Jaishankar in Twitter storm over book

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar found himself in a twitter storm after referring to a book on VP Menon that stated Jawaharlal Nehru 'did not want Sardar Patel in his cabinet' and had 'kept him out of the initial list'.

ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Feb 14, 2020, 08.30 AM IST
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New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar found himself in a twitter storm after referring to a book on VP Menon that stated Jawaharlal Nehru 'did not want Sardar Patel in his cabinet' and had 'kept him out of the initial list'.

“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,” Jaishankar tweeted, referring to a book by Narayani Basu on VP Menon, a civil servant who worked with Sardar Patel in the integration of princely states. The minister had released the book. Jaishankar also said that the exercise of writing history for politics needed honest treatment. “When Sardar died, a deliberate campaign was begun to efface his memory. I know this, because I have seen it, and at times, I fell victim to it myself,” the book quoted Menon as having said.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh took on Jaishankar for what he alleged was fake news. “Problem with this very accomplished and erudite foreign minister is that he wishes to forget the books he read before becoming foreign secretary in January 2015,” Ramesh said on Twitter. He shared six letters that Nehru wrote in 1947 to Lord Mountbatten and Sardar Patel to prove his point. In one of his letters to Lord Mountbatten, Nehru had put Patel’s name on top in his cabinet list.

Historian Ramachandra Guha too reacted: “This is a myth that has been demolished by Professor Srinath Raghavan. Besides, promoting fake news about, and false rivalries between, the builders of modern India is not the job of the foreign minister.”

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