The Congress had no objection when airports and colleges developed at taxpayers’ cost were named after the Gandhi family but the party would term the Statue of Unity (SoU) dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, a waste of money as “the party has ghrina (dislike) for Gujarat”, Union Minister Smriti Irani said on Wednesday.
Addressing an election meeting organised by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at Swaminarayan Chowk in Rajkot, Irani claimed that had Patel been given the opportunity to lead the country, Article 370 would not have been there in the Indian Constitution and that the country would have progressed more. Patel was the man who united the country under one flag and dedicated his entire life to the nation, she said.
“When a statue dedicated to him was proposed, Gujarat was surprised as the Gandhi family raised protest and the Congress asked why waste money. They did not have problem when airports were named after the family. They had no objection when a college constructed at the taxpayers’ cost was named after the family…,” said Irani, Union Minister for Textiles, and Women and Child Development.
Irani said that Congress kept on objecting to the SoU even when not only Gujarat but India in general had responded to Modi’s call for building the grant statue downstream the Narmada dam. She said that while it was in power at the Centre, Congress left no stone unturned to “try and stop development of Gujarat”.
Irani also claimed that Congress also did not make any cotton procurements from Gujarat at minimum support price (MSP) when it was in power in the Centre. “But today, following orders from Narendrabhai (Modi), the BJP government in the Centre has procured cotton worth Rs 6,000 crore. Congress nought, BJP Rs 6,000 crore,” said Irani.