Congress president Rahul Gandhi paid tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his birth anniversary on Wednesday, 31 October, but at the same time took a jibe at the NDA government led by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

On the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled ‘Statue of Unity’, the Congress president said that institutions built by India’s first Home Minister are being “smashed”. The 48-year-old Gandhi called it “treason”.

“Ironic that a statue of Sardar Patel is being inaugurated, but every institution he helped build is being smashed. The systematic destruction of India’s institutions is nothing short of treason. #StatueOfUnity,” he tweeted.

 

In his tribute to Patel, Gandhi said that he was a “Congressman to the core”.

“Sardar Patel was a patriot, who fought for a independent, united & secular India. A man with a steely will, tempered by compassion, he was a Congressman to the core, who had no tolerance for bigotry or communalism. On his birth anniversary, I salute this great son of India,” he wrote.

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the ‘Statue of Unity’ at Kevadia in Narmada district on the 143rd birth anniversary of Sardar Patel. The 182-metre structure of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel is touted as the world’s tallest.

It is twice the height of the Statue of Liberty in the US and is built on Sadhu Bet, an islet near the Sardar Sarovar Dam.

BJP President Amit Shah, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Deputy CM Nitin Patel, and Madhya Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel were also present at the inauguration of the statue.

Read More: PM Modi unveils world’s tallest structure, ‘Statue of Unity’ in Gujarat’s Kevadia

Dedicating the ‘Statue of Unity’ to the nation, PM Modi said the statue is a symbol of India’s integrity.

The statue has been designed by Padma Bhushan-winning sculptor Ram V Sutar and has been built by Larsen and Toubro and the state-run Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd. It took about 250 engineers and 3,400 labourers to construct the statue in 33 months.

The Statue of Unity was built at an estimated cost of Rs 2,989 crore.