Satna/Ahmedabad: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday claimed that Sardar Patel's mega statue in Gujarat, a pet project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was being built by China, evoking stinging reactions from the BJP and the Gujarat government.
The 182-meter statue, being built at Sadhu Bet in Narmada district and tipped to be the world's tallest statue, is slated to be inaugurated by Modi on the icon's birth anniversary on 31 October.
Named as the 'Statue of Unity', the monument is a pet project of Modi who had laid the foundation stone for it in October 2013, when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat.
"The Prime Minister used to say that we will install the statue of Sardar Patel in Gujarat. It is unfortunate that the iron man's statue will be inscribed with 'Made-in-China' as it is being made by China," Gandhi said at a rally in Satna in Madhya Pradesh.
"It is a disrespect to the great nationalist, freedom fighter and the man behind the development of the nation," the Congress leader added.
Gujarat Chief minister Vijay Rupani accused Gandhi of "lying shamelessly" while asserting that the statue was made in India.
Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel went further by saying that Gandhi himself was "Made-in-Italy".
"Rahul Gandhi has Italian blood. He is made in Italy. He is a foreigner. But we do not rake up this issue. But, when he is trying to devalue the tallest statue being built here, he should see that he also has Italian blood," Patel said in Ahmedabad.
"Though he is having Italian blood he is Congress president. Now it is for the Congress to decide if they want to make a person with mixed blood... having Italian blood as their president or those who have pure blood," Patel said.
He said the entire country was feeling proud that the "world's tallest statue" is being built here and asked "why is Rahul Gandhi not feeling proud about it?"
The Gujarat government went on to clarify that after the international tenders were floated for erecting the tallest statue of the world of the first home minister of the country Vallabhbhai Patel, Indian company Larson and Tubro (L&T) bagged the contract.
It said that 95 percent making and raw materials of the statue are Indian, while other five per cent parts which were not available in the country were imported from China. Patel said that, L&T being lowest bidder had bagged the contract for building of the statue. "Only some bronze material, for which expertise were not available in India has been imported by the company from China," he added.
Senior BJP leader and union minister Uma Bharti said, "The iron for making Sardar Patel's statue was collected from different villages of the country. Why Rahul is remembering China and Pakistan so much?"
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Updated Date: Sep 27, 2018 21:58:09 IST