Standing on the banks of the Narmada River on Wednesday as Indian air force pilots dropped flower petals on Patel's imposing figure, Modi said the statue would serve as a beacon of hope for India and "keep on reminding the whole world" about Patel's courage. It took about 250 engineers and 3,400 labourers to construct the statue in 33 months.
Hailing the legacy of Sardar Patel, PM Modi said that Sardar Patel was responsible for creating a unified India that we live in today.
Addressing a function at the district Congress committee office here, the Congress leader said there was no such very big statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the country.
- Inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Patel's 143rd birth anniversary on October 31, 2018, it will open for public from November 1. "No Indian will ever forget this day", Modi added.
Facing five state elections and a general election due by May, Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are reaching back into history for alternatives to the heroes of the Nehru-Gandhi family that dominated Congress.
At 182 metre, the mammoth replica of Sardar Patel is the world's tallest statue, leaving behind USA's Statue of Liberty (93 metre), Japan's Ushiku Daibutsu (120 metre) and even China's Spring Temple Buddha (153 metre) statues. The unveiling of the statue comes ahead of the Lok Sabha polls next year.
Posters of Modi with Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani were torn down or had their faces blackened at the weekend.
The statue cost the Indian government $403 million, a price tag that has caused outcry among Indian taxpayers.
"Patel, a titan of India's freedom struggle, unified the country and stopped it from disintegration". Officials believe that the statue will stand at 695 feet when construction is complete, according to the newspaper Indian Express.
India on Wednesday unveiled the world's tallest statue in the western state of Gujurat in celebration of her unity. The BBC reported that locals have expressed deep concern that they still lack basic irrigation facilities vital to the region's economy while mass investment has been diverted to a largely-ceremonial project.
It is situated in Gujarat, about 100 km's (60 miles) from the nearest city of Vadodora.
In Deccan Herald, Sajith Kumar on the Modi government's perception of the two most prominent post-Independence Congress leaders, Sardar Vallabhai Patel and Jawaharlal Nehru.