With rose petals and guns, India inaugurates world's tallest statue

Sardar Patel sardar patel biography Hind na Sardar Sardar of India Hind ke Sardar Ravjibhai Manibhai Patel Ekta Yatra Statue of Unity

"We are made to feel as if we have committed a serious crime", he said. "Why is there such a big statue for a disciple of Gandhiji in the country where there is no statue of that size for the Mahatma?" he asked while addressing a function at the district congress committee office in Thiruvananthapuram.

It is twice the height of the Statue of Liberty in the USA and is built on Sadhu Bet, an islet near the Sardar Sarovar Dam.

Modi described the statue as "an answer to all those who question the existence of India".

The "Iron Man of India", a moniker the first deputy prime minister of the country earned through his commitment to national integration in the Forties, will in fact be clad entirely in bronze when dedicated by Shri Narendra Modi on Wednesday morning; 1,850 tonnes of bronze to be precise.

"In Assam, they (BJP) are trying to drive out 40 lakh people, including Bengalis, by omitting their names from the NRC draft", Ms Banerjee, a strident critic of the BJP, said.

The Patel statue could, however, soon be topped by the 212-metre Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial commemorating a 17th-century Indian warrior king, which is set to open in Mumbai in 2021.

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The statute is in honour of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, a nationalist who helped unite modern India after gaining independence from Britain.

Some of the leaders Modi has branded as "forgotten" came from the opposition Congress party, and fought for independence from colonial ruler Britain in 1947.

"Though Patel was from Gujarat state, all Indians were proud of him because of his stature", said Rashesh Patel, a 42-year-old businessman among the crowd gathered for the inauguration ceremony.

The Statue of Unity was built at an estimated cost of Rs. 2,989 crore. The Prime Minister also visited the museum on the life of Sardar Patel at the base of the statue and also went to the viewers' gallery in the statue which has been created at the height of 152 metre.

Reddy also charged the BJP with trying to "appropriate" the legacy of Patel.

"Mahatma Gandhi's statue should have been bigger, he is leader of the highest stature than anybody else", he said.

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