Statue of Unity: A letter, a phone call and a pan-India grassroots movement
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As many as two lakh sarpanches across India will soon receive a letter appealing for support in building the world's tallest statue. The letter will be sent by Chief Minister Narendra Modi in a corrugated box, with a mounted GPS chip and will ask the sarpanches to call back on a dedicated phone number.
This exercises is considered most important by team Modi, of what is billed as the biggest grassroots movement in history of India – Statue of Unity movement, consisting of run for unity at 1,000 places on December 15, an essay competition in two lakh urban schools and collection of iron pieces from seven lakh villages with a target of 5,000 tonnes. This is pre-cursor to build the 182-feet statue of Sardar Vallbhbhai Patel near Sardar Sarovar Dam.
The total number of return calls from sarpanches will be crucial as it will not only help the Modi team assess his popularity but also help them build a rapport with village heads, which could be crucial when the Chief Minister begins his run for Delhi. Modi's letter will be written in 11 different regional languages. This, team Modi feels, will helkp him make inroads into rural India.
"We will keep a close eye on which village heads will call up," said a top-level officer involved with the project while adding that "to expect two lakh calls — the number of letters to be sent — is over ambitious. But the total number will definitely help the team gauge acceptance of the project and Modi."
Apart from making the call, the gram panchayats will be asked by Citizens for Accountable Governance — the NGO that has designed the three-layered movement — to fill up a form with details and photographs of villagers supporting the movement. The photos will be a permanent part of a photo collage at the gallery at the 182-feet State of Unity to come up at Sadhu Island, 3 km from Sardar Sarovar Dam in Narmada district in Gujarat. A business envelop, which the villagers can use to send back documents, will also be part of the kit in the box.
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