Prime Minister's Conference | Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

When Mr. Subhash Chandra Bose was elected for the first term to the Presidentship of the Indian National Congress, one of the first things he projected was a Conference of all Congress Prime Ministers in Calcutta at which he would of course, have taken the chair. Somehow this did not come off. But the idea has been kept in view. A Primer's Conference is being held in Poona this week. All Congress Prime Ministers, except Dr. Khan Sahib of the North-Western Frontier Province, are expected to attend it. It is to be presided over not by the Congress President, Babu Rajendra Prasad nor by Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramayya who loyally acquiesced in being passed over the Presidentship in favour of Mr. Prasad when Mr. subhash Bose abdicted but by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in his capacity of Chairman of the Parliamentary Board of Control. It is impossible to resist the surmise that this means that the Sardar is likely to be the first Federal Prime Minister if the Congress decides upon accepting office in the Federation, on getting such terms as it may be able to secure from the British Government and the Indian States. The Sardar, as we have observed before, is a capable and resolute administrator. But the Federal Government's functions will be administrative only to a small extent. They will chiefly concern questions of high policy. In order to discharge such functions the Sardar will have to develop some qualities which he has hitherto rather neglected. One is the capacity to return the soft answer which turneth away wrath. Not only has the Sardar not cultivated this valuable quality in one who has to deal with great issues and all sorts and conditions of people. He has rather got into the habit of provoking needless antagonism even amongst friends by being aggressively and obtrusively outspoken. To call a spade a spade, does not need any measure of forethought. Every child does it. But to detect the idea behind the spade which makes it useful as a garden implement and to stress the value of that in preference to the rude embodiment of it which one can touch and handle, demands a high degree of mental discipline.

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