Sardar Patel was truly secular: Modi

Bharuch, Oct 31 : Ahead of laying the foundation stone for constructing Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel's statue at Bharuch in Gujarat, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Thursday attacked the Congress over the recent exchange of barbs between the two parties over the Patel's legacy and said it will be wrong to say that the iconic Indian leader belonged to a particular party as he is above party politics.

"It will be wrong to say Patelji belonged to particular party. He is above everything. We should take inspiration from people who have served the nation," Modi said while addressing a farmer's rally ahead of laying the foundation stone for constructing the statue.

In an indirect attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Modi said: "I agree with the Prime Minister who said that Sardar Patel was secular. We want to say that we want the same secularism that Sardar Patel believed in. We do not want vote bank secularism."

Singh on Tuesday had said Patel was a 'Congressman' and his outlook was secular.

Modi asked that why questions were being raised over the building of Patel's statue.

"When we made Mahatma Gandhi's temple at that time no one challenged me that you are from the BJP but Mahatma Gandhi was not a part of it. So why are you making the temple? But when it came to Sardar Patel's statute people are having problems. I will like to ask them why are they having problem now?" Modi said.

He said Patel's statue will be a symbol of 'India's rise'.

Modi was seen sharing thew stage with (BJP patriarch LK Advani at the rally.

Speaking at the rally, Advani praised Modi for deciding to build the statue.

"I congratulate Modi, who has been declared as BJP's prime ministerial candidate, for his decision to build this statue. I am very happy that I am here today," Advani said.

Earlier, Advani was reportedly disappointed after Modi was declared as BJP's prime ministerial candidate.

Patel's 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'.

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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