Sardar statue doesn't excite Nandiad voters

Sardar statue doesn't excite Nandiad voters

Narendra Modi and the BJP usurping the legacy of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel has seemingly been a bone of contention in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections.

However, in Nandiad which is the birthplace of the Sardar, seeking votes in the name of the tallest statue being readied of the ‘Iron Man of India’ is not a big an issue and does not attract anyone.

Even as BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi has been advertising his project to construct the tallest statue of the Sardar, the electorate here hardly finds it an issue that will guide their voting choice.

“The state government or whoever wants to stake a claim on the Sardar are not even taking care of existing monuments, so how does it matter that there is a proposal to build the tallest statue near the vicinity of Sardar’s birthplace?’’ asked first-time voter Anand Patel.

He said that, for him, the statue of the Sardar is an emotional issue. He is proud that he resides in Karamsad close to where the statue is to come up, but issues like the development of the country and a better economy are what concerns him more.

 “The political parties talking about the Sardar and his achievements – when have they taken any initiative to maintain the school in which the Sardar studied or the college which he attended?” asked another resident Harshad Patel. He said that the politicians should first take the initiative of restoring existing monuments that are related to the heritage of the Sardar and then talk of erecting new ones.  

Many of the residents of the area agree that the parties which have raised Sardar as a poll issue are doing it out of  convenience.

“The school to which the Sardar had gone to or the college in which he studied are in shambles. Even the Sardar Patel Trust does not take any initiative and the blame game continues,’’ said Rakesh Patel, a college-going student.

Congress candidate for the Kheda Lok Sabha seat and chairman of the Sardar Patel Trust Dinsha Patel blames the decayed state of these buildings on the state government. “The trust has renovated the Smarak (memorial) but the state government has taken no interest about these buildings,’’ said Patel.

The BJP, too, seems to have realised that invoking the Sardar is not catching the attention of people even in his birthplace. So while Modi has sought to collect iron pieces from different parts of the country, he has consciously avoided the very mention of proposed statue in his campaign speeches in Gujarat .

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