NEW DELHI – The Indian Prime Minister revealed on Wednesday a towering bronze statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, a leading leader of independence, who was promoted in the ruling party's election as a national symbol ahead of next year's parliamentary elections.
Patel, who came from the state of Gujarat, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was also the first Indian Interior Minister after his independence from Great Britain in 1947.
He was known as the "Iron Man of India" for the integration of various post-independence states when the founding of Pakistan resulted in massive bloodshed between Hindus and Muslims moving between the two nations.
The statue is part of a broader project by Modi to resist the opposition of the Indian National Congress party by the country's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, his mentor, peace activist Mahatma Gandhi and his daughter, the former prime minister, Indira Gandhi, who was named in 1984 Guards was murdered.
Nehru's great-grandson, Rahul Gandhi, cited the Congress party, and if a single opposition receives the majority of seats in next-spring's parliamentary elections, he could become a candidate for the next Indian prime minister.
The Patel statue "tears the opposition apart because any criticism of Modi's display will enable him to portray critics as a legatee of those who have denied Patel his rightful place in the nation and in history," said the Delhi-based political analyst and author of the book "Modes: The Man, The Times".
"Not only will the statue of the unit literally represent dwarven statues of all the other Indian leaders, but the event will also make it possible to commemorate Sardar's imposing position on the leaders of the Congress Party," Mukhopadhyay said.
At 182 meters (597 feet), Patel's bronze figure is in Kevadiya, a village in Gujarat, one of the tallest statues in the world – almost ten stories taller than the 153-meter-high Spring Temple Buddha statue in China and almost twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty, which is 93 meters high.
The 42-month project, built by 250 engineers and 3,000 workers, started in 2013 when Modi was the most elected official in Gujarat. After taking office in 2014, he promised to complete the project, even though some critics were suffering from the $ 403 million price tag that they said could be better spent on social programs for the poor in India.
Modi stood on the bank of the Narmada River on Wednesday, as Indian Air Force pilots dropped petals on Patel's imposing figure, saying the statue would serve as India's hope and "continue to remind the entire world of Patel's courage."
The monument will have a museum with 40,000 documents, 2,000 photographs and a research center dedicated to Patel's life and work.
"Although Patel was from Gujarat state, all Indians were proud of him because of his stature," said Rashesh Patel, a 42-year-old businessman from the crowd gathered for the inauguration ceremony.
However, the Patel statue could soon be crowned by the 212 meter high Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj memorial, which commemorates an Indian warrior king of the 17th century who is due to open in 2021 in Mumbai.
This story corrects the spelling of Vallabhbhai.