Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said on Thursday that Congress chief Rahul Gandhi was "Made in Italy and has Italian blood in him", scoffing at the latter's remarks that the world's tallest statue - that of Sardar Patel - being built in Gujarat was "made in China."
Nitin Patel told reporters that the Congress chief was making allegations just for the heck of it, without knowing any facts.
Mr Patel made it clear that the entire 'Statue of Unity' in honour of Sardar Patel "is made in India and in Gujarat".
Backing his statement with facts, he pointed out that the government had invited global tenders to build the statue and the lowest bidder, Larsen & Toubro or L&T, which is an Indian company, was awarded the contract to build it.
Mr Patel also highlighted that "Only 1,700 tonnes of bronze needed for the statue was imported from China. Besides this, there are 70,000 tonnes of iron (and concrete) and 18,500 tonnes of steel, all sourced from India."
"Hundreds of tonnes of iron collected from farmers across the country have also been used in it," Mr Patel added.
Slamming the Congress chief, Mr Patel said, Rahul Gandhi has insulted the sentiments of the people of India, especially the people of Gujarat. "Rahul Gandhi was himself 'Made in Italy'. He has Italian blood flowing in him."
The deputy chief minister went on to say, "We have nothing to say here. It is up to the Congress whether they want a party president with 100 per cent Indian blood or a mixed breed with Italian blood."
"The Congress and the Nehru-Gandhi family had always tried to erase the legacy of Sardar Patel," he said.
"They just cannot swallow any honour being done to Sardar Patel, who was even the favourite of Mahatma Gandhi. In fact, they (Congress) don't want anyone except the Nehru-Gandhi's family to be given credit for the country's independence," Nitin Patel said.
Mr Patel was reacting to Rahul Gandhi's remarks about the Sardar Patel statue at a public meeting in Satna in Madhya Pradesh.
At the rally, Rahul Gandhi claimed that "Modiji had promised to build the world's largest statue - of Sardar Patel in Gujarat. But later it was revealed that on the back of the statue it was written Made in China."
The Statue of Unity, which is 182 metres from the ground and 240 metres from the river base of Narmada, has been completed. The inauguration of the statue will be done by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 31.
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