Gandhinagar: Touted to be the tallest so far in the state, a 30 feet statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was unveiled by Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel in capital Gandhinagar on Saturday to mark the 140th birth anniversary of the Indian freedom movement icon.
The statue is a scaled down replica of the proposed 182-feet 'Statue of Unity' to come up near Sardar Sarovar Dam in South Gujarat.
The 30-feet statue of Sardar Patel has been built at an estimated cost of Rs 80 crores and is part of the Statue of Unity project initiated by the then Chief Minister and now Prime Minister Narendra Modi five years ago.
Work on the 182 feet-statue of Sardar Patel has already commenced and is expected to be completed in the next few years. But before that the state government decided to install a small replica of the statue opposite the state assembly.
The unveiling of the statue comes at a time when the state government is grappling with an agitation by the Patel community.
The seemingly affluent community spearhead by 22-year-old Hardik Patel has been demanding reservations in government jobs and academic institutions. Hardik is currently in police custody after he was arrested under sedition charges earlier this month.
The chief minister avoided any direct reference to the Patel agitation but called upon Gujaratis to work for development of the state.
"We need to shun all paths of confrontation and work on the ideals of Sardar Patel to build a strong India,'' she said.