Kolkata: Hailing India's first Deputy Prime Minister Sardar Ballavbhai Patel's contribution to the country, Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy on Thursday said Patel would have solved the 'Kashmir dispute' had he become the country's first Prime Minister instead of Jawaharlal Nehru.
Roy, known for making controversial comments, claimed Patel was not allowed to work on the integration of the then princely state of Jammu and Kashmir with free India as the issue was exclusively handled by Nehru himself.
"When India became independent, there were more than 500 princely states in the country. Most of them became a part of free India on their own except a few," Roy said.
Patel was not allowed to intervene in the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir as Nehru himself was dealing with it, Roy said at the unveiling of a book 'Sardar Ballavbhai Patel: A statesman Extraordinary'.
"Nehru didn't allow anyone else to intervene. As a result, Kashmir remains a problem for India and would continue to be a headache for future generations of this country," he said.
Roy also criticised Nehru's role during China's attack on Tibet and said had India opposed the attack, it could have prevented the dispute with China.
"India played a supportive role towards China when it attacked and captured Tibet. Had India opposed it and taken the help of foreign powers in prohibiting China from capturing Tibet, the country would have remained as a buffer state between India and China," he said.
About the controversy over the recent unveiling of the 182-meter tall Patel statue in Gujarat, said to be the world's highest, Roy hailed it as a great move by Prime Minister Modi to convey the leader his deserved respect.