NEW DELHI: Indian Prime minister Narendera Modi on Wednesday unveiled Sardar Patel’s ‘Statue of Unity’ on the banks of the river Narmada in Gujarat’s Kevadiya. Addressing the nation after the inauguration, Modi said that the day will be remembered in the history of India. “Events like today are very important in a country’s history and such events are difficult to erase. It is a historic and inspiring occasion for all Indians. I am fortunate to dedicate this statue of Sardar Sahab to the nation,” he said.
Giving Patel — independent India’s first home minister — the entire credit for building a united country, Modi left little unsaid in underlining how the leader has been largely ignored over the past few decades and how it is his government that is giving him his due.
The statue was unveiled on Patel’s 143rd birth anniversary, that happens to coincide with former PM Indira Gandhi’s death anniversary. The messaging of the flamboyant, grand event that clearly overshadowed tributes to Indira Gandhi was also hardly lost on anyone.
“Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was responsible for us living in a united India today. It was his efforts after Independence that led to India being what it is today. From Kutch to Kohima, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, Sardar Patel united the country. This shows what a great resolve he had. It is because of him that we can travel to all the great sites and meet the great people of all the states without a visa,” the PM said.
He also slammed the Opposition for politicising the issue and said that remembering heroes of the nation is not a crime.
The Touted as the world’s tallest statue, the project has been completed in a record 33 months. The statue has been built using over 70,000 tonnes of cement, 18,500 tonnes of reinforcement steel, 6,000 tonnes of structural steel and 1,700 metric tonnes of bronze. Local tribal leaders allege that resources were wasted on the Statue of Unity.