Published: Wed, October 31, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Statue of Unity: The politics behind it and BJPs real motive

Statue of Unity: The politics behind it and BJPs real motive

Modi, who ordered the statue built on the Narmada river when he was Gujarat chief minister, said a year ago there had been efforts to "belittle" or "remove from history" the contributions of Patel, who helped unite India's 562 princely states as the first home, or interior, minister.

Anand Mazgaonkar, a community group leader in Narmada district of Gujarat state where the statue has been built over the past four years, said plain clothes police took away 12 people late Tuesday to the local police headquarters.

Former Gujarat chief ministers Suresh Mehta and Shankersinh Vaghela have also come out against the extravaganza.

Later, the Defence Minister recalled the contributions of Patel in uniting India and pointed out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was scheduled to dedicate to the nation, the freedom fighter's statue in Gujarat.

The committee overseeing the construction of the project reportedly also asked for public donations to finish the statue and called on farmers across the country to donate iron.

The statue is more than twice the size of New York's Statue of Liberty and also dwarfs the 128-meter (400-feet) high Spring Temple Buddha in China, the world's next-biggest statue.

He will then arrive at the Wall of Unity, and inaugurate it. Every Indian will now be proud to see the world's tallest statue here on Indian soil.

Air Force planes showered flowers on the statue, which was designed by decorated Indian sculptor Ram V Sutar.

Paying tribute to Patel on his 143rd birth anniversary, Gandhi said, "Sardar Patel was a patriot, who fought for an independent, united & secular India".

The project is the brainchild of Modi when he was the chief minister of Gujarat.

This is not the first time the villagers and local activists have been detained ahead of the prime minister's programme at Kevadia Colony. The Communist Party of India has criticised the government for splurging money on the statue.

Apart from the gallery, a museum is dedicated to Sardar Patel, at the base of the structure which will have 40,000 documents, 2,000 pictures and a research centre.

Indian authorities hope the statue will attract 15,000 visitors a day to the remote corner of Gujarat, which is about 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the nearest city of Vadodora.

The record-breaking monument, which towers over the Narmada River, was built at a cost of 29.89 billion rupees (430 million dollars).

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