The development was being watched and as expected, soon after the inauguration of the Rs 3,000-crore Statue of Unity in Gujarat, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Mayawati demanded an apology from those who had flayed her over the statues of Dalit leaders her government had installed in Uttar Pradesh.
The Modi government installed the Statue of Unity as a mark of honour and tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the Iron Man of India on his 143rd birth anniversary. Patel, the country’s first home minister, is credited with merging over 500 princely states into the Union of India.
At a mega event in Gujarat on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the statue touted to be the world’s tallest statue and said that it was a “historic moment for all Indians” and the statue is a “reflection of the sacrifices of the tribal community”.
In the wake of it, Mayawati took the opportunity to lash out at her detractors.
“All those in the BJP, the RSS and company need to apologise, especially to the people of the Bahujan Samaj, for terming the statues installed by the then BSP government to honour icons like Baba Saheb Ambedkar and others wasteful expenditure,” she said in a statement.
The BSP president alleged political motivation behind the installation of Sardar Patel statue - the 182-metre Statue of Unity.
“The people of the country are also wondering if all this is not politics, and if the BJP really had this love for Patel why had they not put up such a massive statue earlier in Gujarat where they are in power for a long time,” Mayawati said.
The BSP president also questioned “the politics and faith” behind the English nomenclature of the statue of the country’s first home minister, who she said was an example of Indian culture and traditions. She said that the “foreign stamp” on the construction of Patel’s statue will always trouble Patel’s followers.
Mayawati then accused the BJP government of narrow mindedness in confining Patel to a region. The statue in Gujarat’s Kevadiya is built on Sadhu Bet islet near Sardar Sarovar Dam in Narmada district.