No political motive behind statue of Patel: Gujarat minister

Modigujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. (PTI)

Ruling out any "political motive" behind construction of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel's statue, a senior BJP minister on Thursday said Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi wanted the project to serve as the "source of inspiration for all".

A 14-member BJP delegation, led by Agriculture Minister Babubhai Bokhiria, Wednesday night handed over a letter written by Modi on the upcoming "statue of unity" project to Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in Thiruvananthapuram.

"We apprised Chandy about this project. We clarified to him that there is no political motive behind building the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel," Bokhiria said.

"Chandy showed keen interest in the project. We have also extended an invitation to him to visit Gujarat," he said.

The 182-metre-tall "Statue of Unity" is coming up on an island on Narmada river at an estimated cost of Rs 2,074 crore. Modi had laid the foundation stone for the project in October and is garnering support from other states.

"We embark on a sincere attempt to do justice to this great visionary and his epochal contribution to the Indian nation," Modi said in his letter to his Kerala counterpart.

"The statue will stand high not just in meters and feet but much more in terms of academic, historical, national and spiritual values...My vision is to develop the place as a source of inspiration for ages to come," Modi said.

The delegation is in Kerala for doing the ground work for the 'run for unity' organised by BJP on December 15.

The 'run for unity', being organised across 565 districts in the country, will not only mark the death anniversary of independent India's first home minister but also launch preparations for construction of his statue which will be tallest in world.

The delegation comprises Gujarat Tourism Corporation MD Sanjay Kaul, Gujarat Tourisam Commissioner I P Jadeja, the member of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust, besides other officials and six MLAs, and is camping in Kerala since Sunday.

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