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Patel wanted Dogra rule to continue after accession
He wasn't for Sheikh Abdullah to head JK
11/3/2018 11:13:20 PM
Early Times Report

Jammu, Nov 3: At a time when the 182-metre-high statue of India's first deputy prime minister and independence leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel has been built in Gujarat with entire world paying tribute to the great leader, his association with Jammu and Kashmir is coming to fore.
What could surprise many is the fact that Patel never wanted National Conference and its founder Sheikh Abdullah to rule Jammu and Kashmir, Instead, he wanted Maharaja Hari Singh and his Prime Minister Meher Chand Mahajan to run the state administration.
According to the historical records, Patel, soon after the tribal invasion in Kashmir was crushed and Indian government got control of the territory, sided with Maharaja Hari Singh and his Prime Minister Meher Chand Mahajan. Patel never wanted Sheikh Abdullah and his NC to rule the state and Sheikh to become its Prime Minister.
In the last week of December in 1947, Patel offered his resignation to the Prime Minister Nehru when the latter had a rift with him over his stand on Kashmir and support of Maharaja Hari Singh and Mehar chand Mahajan.
Records reveal further that Patel wanted an interim government created in Kashmir as in Mysore. And he wanted that in this new government of the state, the supreme authority would rest with Mahajan, a Prime Minister appointed by Maharaja Hari Singh.
However, as Sheikh Abdullah sensed danger to his authority and his dream to rule the state in jeopardy, he used his relation with Nehru to stop any such action.
Later on, Nehru wrote directly to Patel and stated in his letter to him: "I am just not able to understand the principle governing the ministry of states. The ministry or for that matter any other ministry, is not above discussion or review, nor should it function so that its maintains strict independence and functions in isolation from the other ministries. If it does so, the government would not be one unified whole engaged in the pursuit of one single objective. And then what is the Prime Minister for? The present issue concerns Kashmir. It raises lots of questions, international, military and many more, which are beyond the ministry of states. Hence the whole cabinet has to review the matter from time to time. Others ministries too have to collectively or individually address the issue. The reason why I am taking personal interest in the matter is to ensure, as Prime Minister, to coordinate various activities of the ministries."
However, time proved Patel right, when on August 8, 1953, government of India had to arrest Sheikh Abdullah. He was accused of suppressing the civil liberties, delay in implementation of Delhi Agreement, and encouraging disruptive tendencies in the state.
Such was the reaction cordial between Maharaja Hari Singh and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel that at the time when Maharaja left the state for Bombay, he wrote to Patel before leaving, " I am leaving the state just for three or four months but this should not be taken as a prelude to my abdication."
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