Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday said Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel shared deep respect for each other and there were no disagreements between them.
"The claim by some writers that there were unbearable disagreements between Sardar Patel and Pandit Nehru is to distort history," Sonia said in a written message read out at a function held to inaugurate a community hall at Sardar Smarak in Ahmedabad by President Pratibha Patil.
"They may have differed in some of their views, but that never affected their deep respect, admiration and affection for each other or their ability to work together to strengthen India's unity and integrity," the UPA chairperson said.
Asking people to follow the footsteps of Sardar Patel, President said, "People should follow the path of unity and integrity as suggested by Patel. It is only then that India could emerge as a powerful nation."
She said Patel was committed to the nation and wanted to see India as a progressive and developed country.
Meanwhile, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, addressing the same function, claimed that had Sardar Patel been the first prime minister of Independent India (instead of Nehru), there would have been no farmers' suicides or terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.
"If this farmer's son (Patel) had been the first prime minister of India then there would not be a situation leading to farmer suicides," he said.