Veteran Communist leader Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy raised a question demanding to know why a bigger statute of Mahatma Gandhi was not built by the BJP on the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the 182-metre statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The 'Statue of Unity' is known to to be world's tallest statue.
He said that while there was no objection over 'Statue of Unity' built for Patel, what was surprising was why a bigger statue for the father of the nation, who was also born in Gujarat, was not thought of.
"They (BJP) do not like Gandhi's secularism, that is why they have not built his statue. Instead, they have gone for Patel, who had rightist ideas," the CPI general secretary alleged.
Reddy also charged the BJP with trying to "appropriate" the legacy of Patel.
"We have no objection to Sardar Patel's statue. With all due respect to him (Patel), we feel Mahatma Gandhi is the tallest leader of Indian politics... Indian people... he is the father of the nation," he told PTI.
"Mahatma Gandhi's statue should have been bigger, he is the leader of the highest stature than anybody else," he said.
Noting that Patel had banned the RSS for some time after Gandhi's assassination, Reddy said, "he (Patel) can never be the leader of the BJP or Sangh Pariwar though these people try to 'snatch' him from the Congress".
"They prefer Patel because he was a rightist leader... political, ideological and academic issues - he was towards the right. BJP wants to somehow, take him as their leader...they do not have a national leader of big stature, so, they want to snatch Patel from Congress party," Reddy claimed.
The statue, whose foundation was laid by Modi in 2013 as chief minister of Gujarat, will dwarf the current tallest statue, the Spring Temple Buddha in China (128m), and will be almost double the height of the Statue of Liberty in New York.
(With Agency Inputs)
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine