Ahmedabad: Taking on the legacy of Nehru-Gandhi family head on, Bharatiya Janata Party’s PM candidate Narendra Modi has criticized country’s first PM Jawaharlal Nehru for not attending being present at funeral procession of then home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The Gujarat CM even claimed that Nehru hadn’t tried to contact Patel’s daughter Maniben even once after his death.
In an exclusive interview to Dainik Bhaskar on condition that only questions pertinent to ‘Statue of Unity’ and Sardar Patel could be raised, Modi said that Nehru Gandhi family don’t care about anyone else except themselves.
“That is why Statue of Unity is so important to us. Once completed, it will immortalize the legacy of Sardar Patel. The statue will be a befitting tribute to the man who merged more than 550 princely states into the Indian Union,” Modi said.
We look upon in awe towards America’s Statue of Liberty, or Britain’s Big Ben Tower for a matter of fact. These monuments are a source of pride for these countries. But what do we have? I believe Iron Man’s grand statue will be the answer. I don’t care if people don’t support me on this,” he said, explaining why he so strongly wants the project to be a success.
Modi also condemned the resistance coming from certain Congress leaders against the proposed 182-metre tall statue. Most of criticism against the project is stemming from BJP’s plan of collecting iron from households from over seven lakh villages across India.
“We want to unite the country like Sardar Patel did after Independence. Besides collecting iron instruments, we also plan to collect pictures of sarpanches of these seven lakh villages and preserve them at the museum which will come in vicinity of the statue. This way all Indian will be able to connect with it better. It will impart a sense of unity. As for pictures of sarpanches, we leant people from future generations to identify with their respective village heads when they visit the place. They would feel proud of the fact their village has contributed in establishment of statue,” he said, as he took on critics of the proposed statue.
When asked if he is trying to project himself as another Sardar Patel, Modi angrily replied, “The statue is not for me. It doesn’t matter to me even if you do not associate my name with it. But the statue must be built. And it will happen.”