Modi to lay foundation stone of Patel's statue

Ahmedabad, Oct 31 : Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is all set to lay the foundation stone of iconinc Indian leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel's statue at Bharuch in Gujarat on Thursday to mark his 138th birth anniversary.

The statue will be built on a small island in the middle of Narmada river.

The 182 metres high statue is called the 'Statue of Unity'.

"On 31st October, the nation would celebrate the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel," Modi wrote on his blog.

"This year, Sardar Patel's birth anniversary would be even more special because we are going to lay the foundation stone of the Statue of Unity. At a height of 182 metres, the State of Unity would be among the tallest statues in the world, celebrating and paying tributes to the Iron Man of India. The Statue of Unity would be situated at Sadhu Bet, which is close to the Sardar Sarovar Dam," the Gujarat CM said.

He said the statue will be constructed by using the latest technology.

"We are building the Statue through PPP model and with latest technology. A few months ago, I had appealed to my farmer sisters and brothers from all over India to contribute their iron tools they used in farming to build the statue.

"After all, Sardar Patel was not only a Loh Purush (Iron Man) but also a Kisan Putra (son of a farmer). I once again appeal to everyone to support us in this endeavour," Modi said.

Modi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday shared the stage at the inauguration of a museum in Ahmedabad city dedicated to Patel.

Speaking at the event, Modi said that he and many others will always regret that Patel did not get a chance to become the first prime minister of India.

"Had he been the first prime minister of India then the face of this country would have been different," said Modi.

Singh hit back and said that Patel was a 'Congressman' and his outlook was secular.

"Patel's outlook was secular," Singh said.

Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma had earlier written a letter and turned down the Gujarat Chief Minister's invite to attend Thursday's event at Gujarat where the foundation will be laid for Patel's massive statue.

Sharma, in a caustic letter, accused Modi, of "misusing the name of Sardar for political propaganda".

"It is rather odd that you have attempted to brazenly usurp the rich legacy of Sardar Patel whose approach and beliefs militate against all that is personified by the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), whose nominee you are," Sharma said in his letter.

--IBNS (Posted on 31-10-2013)

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