The Bhartiya Janata Party on Wednesday formally launched "Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat" in Uttar Pradesh, towards the building of what would be the tallest statue in the world, one of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, on the banks of the Narmada in Gujarat.
Addressing a press conference in the Uttar Pradesh capital, Gujarat Finance Minister Nitinbhai Patel said the goodwill generated among the people of the state towards the ambitious project was very inspiring.
"I have had some interactions with the people of Uttar Pradesh, with social organisations and various frontal organisations of the BJP, and we are very enthused at the support and willingness of the people here to take part in the project," he said.
He said the "Statue of Unity", as the proposed 182-metre statue, to come up at a cost of Rs2,500 crore, is called, would be a fitting tribute to the ideals of Vallabhbhai Patel, India's first home minister, who was instrumental in uniting 562 princely states into the union.
Adding that the project belonged to people of all sections, and was not of the Gujarat government or Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's alone, the state's finance minister said the beginning of the project's "iron collection" campaign from Uttar Pradesh was significant, as the state was politically the nerve centre of the country.
The metal for the statue is being collected from discarded agricultural tools and other tools from across the country.