The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which has accused the Congress party of "conspiring" to obliterate from history Sardar Patel’s role in uniting India post Independence, has claimed that its prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi’s plans of erecting the tallest statue, ‘the Statue of Unity’ is as much an attempt to bring farmers into the national agenda as it is about keeping alive the Sardar’s legacy.
Iron and soil for the 182 mts tall statue of Sardar Patel, which will come up near the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada River is being collected from farmers from across the country. In an attempt to reach out to the farming community the BJP has been making references to the Sardar as a “farmer’s son”.
On Friday, coordinator of the Statue of Unity project O.P Dhankar said by collecting the metal and soil for the statue from the farming community, the project is attempting to bring their concerns into focus and putting them on the national agenda.
To garner support for the ‘Statue of Unity’, the party is also organising a ‘Run for Unity’, on Sunday, which will be led by the BJP's top brass, including the Parliamentary Party Chief L.K. Adavani and party chief Rajnath Singh.
Party vice president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Friday said senior party leaders will be present in various cities across the country for the two kilometre run, which has been planned at over 565 places.
While Mr. Advani will participate in the run in Ahmadabad, Mr. Modi will be in Vadodra, Mr. Singh, Arun Jaitley and Murli Manohar Joshi will be present in Delhi and Sushma Swaraj in Bhopal.
Mr. Naqvi said all the requisite permissions, including environmental clearances have been sought by the Gujarat government for building the statue.
“The Congress has conspired to obliterate Sardar’s role for history, but this mission will give him the honour he deserves for bringing together 565 independent states to form a united India, Mr. Naqvi said.
The ‘run for unity’ will initiate the party's campaign to collect raw material from around 2.38 lakh panchayats. A collage of photographs of pachayat members will also be put up at the site of the statue of unity.