Gu­jarat ex-cm taunts Modi on Statue of Unity

Vaghela says PM’S project a ‘mar­ket­ing gim­mick,’ asks him to first unite CBI, RBI

The Gulf Today - - ASIA -

GAND­HI­NA­GAR: For­mer Gu­jarat chief min­is­ter and ex­pelled rebel Con­gresslead­er­shankersin­hvaghela mocked at Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi on his am­bi­tious Sar­dar Pa­tel’s “Statue of Unity” project dub­bing it a “mar­ket­ing gim­mick” and asked him to irst unite the CBI and the RBI.

The prime min­is­ter is slated to un­veil 182-me­tre tallest statue in the world, Statue of Unity’ (SOU), at Ke­va­dia in Nar­mada district on the birth an­niver­sary of Sar­dar Pa­tel on Wed­nes­day.

When the in­ter­nal ight­ing among the top brass of lead­ing in­sti­tu­tions like the Cen­tral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion (CBI) and the Re­serve Bank of In­dia (RBI) has emerged into the pub­lic, the prime min­is­ter should deal with this cri­sis irst and then speak of unity, Vaghela said.

“Which unity are you talk­ing about?” the for­mer BJP leader asked while talk­ing to re­porters here. “First unite the CBI, the RBI. Unite for sav­ing the down­fall of Indian ru­pee, unite for bring­ing down fuel prices,” he said.

“When you are talk­ing about Sar­dar, re­lease the jailed Pati­dar youth,” Vaghela as­serted, re­fer­ring to Alpesh Kathiriya, a close as­so­ci­ate of ire­brand Pati­dar leader Hardik Pa­tel, who is in jail on sedi­tion charges. Pa­tel also faces sim­i­lar charges.

The for­mer Gu­jarat chief min­is­ter said: “There can be no com­par­i­son be­tween the sim­plic­ity and aus­ter­ity of the Iron Man of In­dia, Sar­dar Pa­tel, and the con­struc­tion and the mo­tive be­hind the State of Unity. The project is of around Rs 3,000 crore, a sheer wastage and un­pro­duc­tive ex­pense of pub­lic money when Gu­jarat is laden with a pub­lic debt of Rs 2,50,000 crore.”

Vaghela, who was cred­ited with build­ing the BJP in Gu­jarat with Naren­dra Modi in tow in the late 80s and early 90s, asked: “Why the sud­den love for Sar­dar whose very name you did not like once?”

Vaghela re­called the time when he was the chief min­is­ter and dur­ing an event on the nam­ing of the Ahmed­abad air­port as the Sar­dar Pa­tel In­ter­na­tional Air­port, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) mem­bers dressed in black and wav­ing black lags had ve­he­mently op­posed the nam­ing in front of then prime min­is­ter HD Deve Gowda.

“One shouldn’t have the im­pres­sion that th­ese peo­ple love Sar­dar... This is just us­ing his name to mar­ket them­selves. They make a hue and cry of in­jus­tice meted out to the Iron Man. When I met Maniben,sar­darpa­tel’sdaugh­ter,she­said there was never any in­jus­tice to Sar­dar. He didn’t even have the as­pi­ra­tions to be the PM. Which in­jus­tice are you talk­ing about?” asked Vaghela.

Reuters

Stu­dents sit in for­ma­tion to pay trib­ute to Sar­dar Val­lab­hb­hai Pa­tel ahead of the un­veil­ing of the ‘Statue of Unity’ por­tray­ing Pa­tel on his birth an­niver­sary, inside a school in Ahmed­abad, on Tues­day.

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