Soil, too, will be collected from 20,118 villages across the State

In an attempt to make the construction of the Sardar Patel statue in Gujarat a “movement”, the Himachal Pradesh unit of the Bhartiya Janata Party on Saturday declared it had formed a coordination committee for an iron collection drive

Former party president and senior MLA Jairam Thakur, who will head the coordination committee, said efforts were being made to spread the party cadre network to all 20,118 villages and 3243 panchayats of the State.

“We will collect iron and soil from all these villages and give it [the statue] a Himachal flavour. We will also collect sacred soil from all the famous temples and religious places of the hill State,” said Mr. Thakur.

The process to make the construction a “movement” began after the Bhoomi Pujan for the memorial on October 31, the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel, by senior party leader L.K. Advani and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. It was Mr. Modi who conceived this dream project as a tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

“Run for unity”

The hill State will also organise a “run for unity” in all the district headquarters on December 15, the death anniversary of Sardar Patel, informed Mr. Thakur, while releasing the list of 12 district coordinators and a 21-member State-wide list of team managers.

There will be a joint workshop for team members from Himachal, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana and Punjab in New Delhi on December 9, he said.

The 182-meter statue with a 58-metre pedestal has been named “Statue of Unity” and will be the tallest in the world.

It will be installed on a river island facing the famous Narmada Dam near Bharuch in Gujarat. The Rs.2500-crore project will take at least four years to complete.

There will be a nationwide campaign to collect iron pieces from more than 6.5 lakh villages of the country, said the BJP.