Modi invites Ramesh to Sardar Patel statue function

Last Updated 23 October 2013, 15:41 IST

Narendra Modi has put his known detractor Jairam Ramesh in a quandary.

The Gujarat Chief Minister has invited the Union Minister for Rural Development to the groundbreaking ceremony of a giant statue of Sardar Patel called the 'Statue of Unity' on October 31.

Addressing the Congress leader as "My dear Jairamji", Modi, who has been often targeted by Ramesh and compared to self-destructive 'Bhasmasur' by him, said that project is mentored by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust and stressed that the the entity has been kept at "an arms' length from government".

"It is our belief that the monument will become an important cornerstone in the cultural and social life of our great nation, and hence we have kept this entity at an arms' length from government to enable co-option of eminent persons from all walks of life," Modi said in his letter to Ramesh.

He, however, also mentioned that he chairs the Trust, which is a Gujarat government entity, in an ex-officio capacity.

The BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate concluded the letter with his "warm personal regards".

Ramesh had once said that the Gujarat Chief Minister imposes an ideological and a managerial challenge to the Congress, remarks that were not liked by the AICC.

More recently, Ramesh had taunted Modi over his controversial remark of 'toilets first, temples later', saying that Centre had initiated programme of building lakhs of toilets "when some leaders had not attained enlightenment".

In the letter, Modi said that the 182 meter high statue of Sardar Patel, located in the middle of Narmada River, 3.5 km south of the Sardar Sarovar dam at Kevadia, Narmada district, would stand at twice that of 'Statue of Liberty' and with benchmarked standards that are superior to comparable structures in the world.

(Published 23 October 2013, 15:40 IST)

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