Congress and Indian States

To his many responsibilities Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel has added the task of putting strength into political agitators in Indian States. In his presidential address to the Baroda State Subject's Conference, Mr. Patel pointed with evident satisfaction to the growing unrest in some of the States and attributed it to the decision of the Indian National Congress at Haripura to leave the people of Indian States to conduct their own agitation. Mr. Patel held out British India as an example and told his audience how the people in the British provinces were now participating in their own Government. He advised the Baroda State subjects to win self-government through discipline, organization, unity and a readiness to make sacrifices. Self-government, he said, was never gifted from above. In unfurling the Congress flag earlier, Mr. Patel had pulled rather in the opposite direction by urging that the flag should "never be interpreted as an indication of opposition to authority." We fail to see how self-government can be won, without being "conferred as a boon by the ruler", and without "opposition to authority" as well. The only interpretation that can be put on Mr. Patel's complex reasoning is that the Congress must be kept scrupulously out of all States agitation while individual Congress leaders maintain popular discontent at a steady level without at the same time losing the favour of the rulers.