Even after 6 long decades of independence, a question which still ponders Indian people’s mind – Why did Gandhi choose Nehru over Sardar Patel to become the prime minister of the newly independent India?
According to the official history, JawaharLal Nehru became the Prime Minister of India and Sardar Patel as his deputy and all of this was decided on merit basis.
However, to find the real answer behind this, we need to make a journey back to 1946. Let’s revisit the entire party power struggle on the night of independence in the Congress Party that it went in favor of JawharLal Nehru.
By 1946, it was clear that India was going to get independence and it was just a matter of few days. With that, an interim government was to be found with a president of the Congress, since it won the maximum votes. And this post of heading the Congress gained more importance and created a havoc when it became clear that the head of the Congress party will be the First Prime Minister of The Free India. Because of World War II, the Quit India Movement and most of the Congress leaders in jail during that time, no elections were held till 1946 and thus after ruling the Congress party for 6 years, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was forced to leave the race for becoming the prime minister and even Gandhi at that point gave his preference to Nehru. And that was not the first time when Gandhi spoke about his choice of Nehru but had happened several times before too.
However, despite the overwhelming support by Gandhi, not a single Congress committee member voted for him, out of 15, 12 of them voted for Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel since they thought Patel to be a great executive and a leader, while 3 of them didn’t cast their vote. The last day for the nominations and thereby the first prime minister of India was April 29, 1946. This shook off Gandhi and thus he appointed Acharya J.B. Kriplani to get some people who would stand in favor of Nehru from the Congress Working Committee (CWC) while being fully aware of the fact that only Pradesh Congress Committee members were allowed to vote. In deference to Gandhi, Kriplani came up with few people who would propose Nehru’s name for the position of Prime Minister. In fact, Gandhi had made Nehru aware of the result of the votes that none PCC member had voted for him and only a few CWC members have nominated him. However, in this, Nehru made it clear from his part that he won’t play any fraud on anybody. Disappointed Gandhi, then coerced Patel to withdraw from the elections. Patel gave into Gandhi’s thought without wasting much time since he had immense respect for Gandhi.
When Rajendra Prasad heard of this chaos, he was aghast and thus remarked that “he once again sacrificed his trusted lieutenant for the sake of the ‘glamorous of Nehru’.”
Was it the “glamor” of Nehru that led Gandhi to sacrifice and doing injustice to Patel? Why was he so enamored with Nehru?
All of us are aware that Gandhi had a soft corner for Nehru since the beginning and he adds preferred Nehru over Sardar Patel at least twice before this, once in 1929 and once in 1937. He was impressed by the modern approach and outlook Nehru had and he wanted India to be under the vigilance of both the leaders, like two oxen pulling the cart (government). Gandhi used his power in favor of Nehru because he feared that Nehru would cause problems in the journey of independence if not given the chance to become the prime minister. In continuation to this, some critics and analysts argue that it was Nehru who threatened Gandhi that if he is not given the title of the prime minister, he will split the Congress leading to a delay in the independence.
Another part of the story began when Nehru was titled with President of Congress in May 1946, Maulana (Nehru’s friend) had already announced in April 1946 that despite the fresh elections for this post of president, he won’t leave the office before November 1946. And it was again Gandhi who came to Nehru’s rescue.
Thus to conclude with, Gandhi believed in Nehru, without whom Nehru was just a young boy who had hardly passed any examination in Cambridge. Nevertheless, Nehru even wasted this golden opportunity of becoming the greater of leader India and rather built up an administrative structure which had nothing Indian in it, all about the Soviet regime and the British Raj System. He also failed to prove himself during the bloodshed of partition or even couldn’t help reduce the influence of the Muslims and wanted communism to be followed. All he cared was about the new throne of India.
Chacha Nehru, the so-called architect of India, brought in the concept of flattery, sycophancy, and nepotism. People still argue over Jawaharlal Nehru being called as Chacha Nehru when all he did was played and laid emphasis more on higher education institutions with neglecting the primary ones. And now also we continue to remain one of the worst places for children to grow up. Although taught to call you a Freedom Fighter, people realized that all he did was mutilated India’s history and ruined and weakened the system for his own private purposes.