New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday paid rich tributes to Syama Prasad Mookerjee, former president of Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha and a strong proponent for removal of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, on his birth anniversary.
"On his Jayanti, I bow to Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee. Dr Mookerjee is remembered as a fine educationist, a wonderful administrator and a stalwart who fought for India's freedom as well as unity," Prime Minister tweeted.
He also shared a photograph of Dr Mookerjee and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and wrote: "Both were Ministerial colleagues and had a futuristic vision for India's growth".
Dr Mookerjee had served as Minister for Industry and Supply in Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's cabinet but fell out with Pt Nehru over his policy on Jammu and Kashmir.
He quit the Congress party and founded the right-wing nationalist political party Bharatiya Jana Sangh, a predecessor to the BJP, in 1951.
On June 23, the death anniversary of Dr Mookerjee, also the Prime Minister and other BJP leaders had paid rich tributes to him.
"Mookerjee's life stands as an inspiration for all of us even today," Mr Modi had tweeted in Hindi.
Dr Mookerjee was strongly opposed to Article 370 and saw it as a threat to unity of the country and fought against it inside and outside Parliament.
The Article 370 gives a special and autonomous status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The BJP has been long been opposed to the Article 370.
In fact, along with Ram Temple at Ayodhya and uniform civil code, removing Article 370 is the part of three contentious issues the BJP has been harping on since its formation.
Prime Minister Modi has an image of favouring tough actions against militants in Jammu and Kashmir and in the run up to the 2014 polls had spoken about displaying '56 inch chest' against Pakistan-sponsored terrorism.
The BJP last month pulled out from the PDP-led coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir, paving the way for Governor's rule and perhaps also undertaking aggressive military operations against terrorism in the state.
The relevance of Syama Prasad Mookerjee has also become more notable this time as Trinamool Congress leaders in West Bengal are also talking highly of his contributions.
"Remembering former Union Minister Shyama Prasad Mookerjee on his birth anniversary," West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted on Friday morning.
BJP is locked in a bitter political battle against Trinamool especially after violence-marred recent panchayat elections in the state.
The saffron party is trying to woo the voters by projecting various past masters of Bengal including Swami Vivekananda, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay and of course Syama Prasad Mookerjee.