Congress president Rahul Gandhi Wednesday accused the government of “treason”, saying there was a “systematic destruction” of institutions that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had helped build.His remarks came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the ‘Statue of Unity’ of Patel in Gujarat.
The 182-metre statue, the world’s tallest, has been built on an islet near the Sardar Sarovar Dam in Narmada district. It is twice the height of the Statue of Liberty in the US. Taking a swipe at Modi, the Congress chief tweeted, “Ironic that a statue of Sardar Patel is being inaugurated, but every institution he helped build is being smashed.”
“The systematic destruction of India’s institutions is nothing short of treason,” he said. In another tweet, Gandhi said Patel was a patriot, who fought for a independent, united and secular India. “A man with a steely will, tempered by compassion, he was a Congressman to the core, who had no tolerance for bigotry or communalism. On his birth anniversary, I salute this great son of India,” he tweeted.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday inaugurated world tallest 182-metre statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel here and said the world’s tallest monument will serve as a reminder about his courage to thwart conspiracy to disintegrate India.
He used the occasion to slam those criticising the decision to build the monument, questioning whether any crime had been committed by constructing such memorials for national heroes like Patel.
It is important to note Sardar patel is Instrumental and as a Home minister during Nehru Congress cabinet has signed and banned BJP’s parent organisation RSS
The giant monument, named as the ‘Statue of Unity’ and built on an islet Sadhu Bet near Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat’s Narmada district, is twice the height of the Statue of Liberty in the US and taller than the 153-metre Spring Temple Buddha in China.
The monument was conceptualised by Modi during his tenure as Gujarat Chief Minister and he had laid the foundation stone for it in 2013.
Patel, the first Home Minister of Independent India, is credited with merging 550 princely states into the Union of India. He had used force to annex princely states of Junagadh ruled by Nawab and Hyderabad ruled by nizam, both of whom had wished not to merge their states with the India union.
Wednesday’s ceremony, which coincided with the 143rd birth anniversary of Patel, also known as the ‘Iron man of India, was attended by Gujarat Governor O P Kohli, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and BJP chief Amit Shah besides a number of other leaders hailing from Gujarat.
The function was marked by a flypast by Air Force planes and helicopters and a cultural show. Built at a cost of Rs 2,989 crore, the height of the statue is 182 metres, including the base of 25 metres.
The plan for Patel’s memorial includes a three-star hotel, a museum and a research centre that will focus on subjects “close to his heart” – such as “good governance” and “agriculture development”.
All of this is about 10km (6.2 miles) from Mr Tadvi’s village, Nana Pipaliya, in the largely poor, rural and tribal Narmada district. Many of its households continue to live in hunger, primary school enrolment has been falling and malnourishment persists, according to a report published in 2016 by the state government.
But the government believes the memorial will boost the district’s economy, as they expect about 2.5 million annual visitors. “It will lead to employment opportunities for locals and will also increase tourism in the area,” said Sandeep Kumar, a senior official involved with the project.
Locals however are sceptical. “We want to ask the government: why can’t they fund a project to support farmers and improve their standard of life?” said Lakhan, a tribal activist who only goes by his first name. “We were promised water for irrigation but the situation remains the same.”