"Is remembering the country's great personalities a crime?" Prime Minister Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi hit out at his critics after inaugurating the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel at Kevadiya in Gujarat on Wednesday. Prime Minister Modi in a veiled attack on Congress chief Rahul Gandhi said, had Sardar Patel not worked for unity", "shiv bhakts" wouldn't have been able to pray at the Somnath Temple today.
"Imagine for a moment that if Sardar Patel had not worked towards uniting the nation, Indians would have to get a visa to see the Gir lions and tigers…and shiv bhakts would need a visa to do puja at the Somnath temple…people would also need a visa to see the Charminar in Hyderabad," said the Prime Minister.
This is not the first time that Prime Minister Modi took a jibe at Rahul Gandhi over his visit to the Somnath temple. Last November, after the Congress chief visited the temple before kicking off the campaign in Gujarat, the Prime Minister said Rahul Gandhi's grandfather – Jawaharlal Nehru – didn't even want the temple reconstructed. It was Sardar Patel who took the initiative to reconstruct the temple, which was vandalized and looted by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1026.
Prime Minister Modi, without mincing words, shredded those who criticized the building of the statue. "I am amazed when some people of our own country dare to see this initiative from a political view point and criticize us like we have committed a huge crime. Is remembering the country's great personalities a crime?" said the Prime Minister.
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological mentor of the BJP, in a statement said, there should not be politics over the statue of Sardar Patel, who played a key role in uniting the country. "Inauguration of the statue in Sardar Patel's memory is a proud moment for every Indian…there should not be politics over this…sometimes people should rise above politics on certain issues," said Manmohan Vaidya, a senior RSS leader.