The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is virtually kicking off its campaign for the 2019 general elections by taking out 'Ekta Yatras' across Gujarat in the run up to the unveiling of the 182-foot statue of Sardar Patel by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 31.
The Prime Minister will unveil the tallest statue in the world, Statue of Unity, on the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel at Sadhu Bet, near Narmada Dam.
The almost Rs 3,000 crore statue is being projected by the BJP as a symbol of unity and as a message that the Congress underplayed the contribution of Sardar Patel towards the country in favour of the Nehru-Gandhi family.
As a precursor to the unveiling event, the Bharatiya Janata Party is taking out 'Ekta Yatras' across Gujarat from October 19 to 29. The yatras will carry a prototype of the Statue of Unity all through the length and breadth of the state.
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani will flag off one such yatra from the historical Bardoli town in South Gujarat where Sardar Patel launched his Bardoli Satyagraha.
Similarly, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel will flag off another yatra from Karamsad, the hometown of Sardar Patel.
Likewise, many ministers of the government will flag off other modules of the yatra from different regions of the state. All these modules will tour around 5,000 villages of Gujarat through the 26 Lok Sabha constituencies of the state before the big event.
The ruling party also plans to hold get-together events at district levels during this period. The party also plans to expand its reach to the public where district-level expansion officers will be appointed full time within six months.
"Through the Ekta Yatra, we will be reaching out to the villages and showcase the development we have carried out at the state and central level," says state BJP President Jitu Vaghani.
He added: "After independence, it is for the first time that the central government has announced minimum support prices (MSP) of 1.5 fold of the production cost of farm produce like paddy, maize and millet.
"The BJP is working for the development of the farmers and farming and we are receiving overwhelming response from them," Mr Vaghani claimed.
Even after the big event, the BJP government is gearing up for visits by state delegations to the tallest statue and the Narmada dam.
Gujarat Ministers are inviting Chief Ministers, Deputy Chief Ministers, Governors and other dignitaries, including the President and Vice President, to the statue site.
The BJP ruled state delegations are expected to visit the statue during the entire November month, one by one.
"This is done so for the sake of convenience. We cannot accommodate and entertain them all of them at a single go. So the visits from them will be one after other," Nitin Patel told reporters.