In 1921, the Annual session of the Indian National Congress was to be held in Ahmedabad. Patel was elected as the Chairman of the Reception Committee for the session. Upon his shoulders fell the responsibility of looking after over 5000 visitors and delegates who were expected to attend the session.

Discarding pomp and ceremony and turning his attention to more important requirements, Patel chalked out a plan right down to every minute detail. Ahmedabad city was said to be short of water. He installed new waterworks that not only provided the guests with plentiful water but also gave to the city a good system of water distribition. Not one to leave out planning for little details, Patel even thought about sorting out the problem of shoes. At the earlier session in Nagpur, he had noticed people worrying about their shoes and sandals getting stolen or exchanged. Patel got hundreds of small bags of khadi made by local peasants and had them sold for the convenience of those attending the Session, who could remove their shoes and carry them in the bags provided. The delegates were happy and thousands of yards of khadi got sold.

Speaking at the session, he said 'The Government has forcibly taken possession of our national schools; it has used physical force in seizure of property, searches of private houses and imprisonment of men and women. I regard these as sure signs of the advent of Swaraj. These actions of the Government are an opportunity for our people to show their strength and determination. We will show the government our mettle in Bardoli and Anand which are ready to go into action at any moment.'

Patel's organisational genius and commitment to Swaraj had become clear to all. He was soon to move from being a mass leader in Gujarat alone to a pan Indian leader.

This photograph shows Gandhi with Vallabhbhai Patel and Sarojini Naidu at the flag salutation ceremony during the Ahmedabad session of the Congress in 1921.

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अहमदाबाद, भारत
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Indian National Congress
Association with Gandhi

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