Sonia Gandhi, the Congress(I) President recently made a statement that “it is the right of the people of India to say who shall be prime minister”. TVR Shenoy gives a lesson in history and explains how Nehru became the “first Prime Minister of India”:http://in.rediff.com/news/2003/dec/30flip.htm
bq. Let me take you back to the year 1946. Everyone knew that Independence was around the corner (though the precise date remained undecided). The choice of Congress president became crucial since it was certain that the Viceroy would invite him or her to head the interim government. Twelve of the 15 Pradesh Congress Committees proposed the name of Sardar Patel; not one of them sent up the name of Jawaharlal Nehru — not even his native United Provinces (as Uttar Pradesh was then titled). It was at this point that Mahatma Gandhi made his last decisive intervention in the affairs of the nation.
bq. He asked Acharya Kripalani — who, if I remember correctly was the choice of the United Provinces Pradesh Congress Committee — to circulate a note to the Congress Working Committee asking that body to nominate Nehru. From this distance in time, the Mahatma??s reasons seem less than convincing. ‘He, a Harrow boy, a Cambridge graduate and a barrister, is wanted to carry on the negotiations with Englishmen.’ Again, the Mahatma believed that Nehru could ‘make India play a role in international affairs.’ More realistically, ‘Jawahar will not take second place.’ Whatever the rationale — and the last suggests that our much-worshipped first prime minister was a spoiled brat in the Mahatma’s estimation — the fact remains that Bapu??s suggestion carried the day, and Sardar Patel, the choice of the people, failed to become prime minister through a palace coup.