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Akhilesh turns down meeting request from Modi’s ‘Statue of Unity’ team

Patel denied any political significance of the project for the BJP.

Written by Lalmani Verma | Lucknow | Published: December 12, 2013 1:49 am

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav did not spare time for a Gujarat government delegation that was in Lucknow for two days,starting Tuesday,to promote the Statue of Unity project mooted by Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

However,the delegation,headed by finance minister Nitin Patel and comprising three MPs,six MLAs,a mayor,a zila panchayat chairman and senior government officers from Gujarat ,interacted with various social organisations here seeking their support for the project and also held a workshop related to the project with BJP workers and members of various NGOs.

The 182-metre tall statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel is coming up on an island on Narmada river at a cost of Rs 2,074 crore.

To garner public support for the project,a ‘Run for Uni-ty’ is being organised at more than 565 places across the country on December 15 by Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust,formed under chai-rmanship of Narendra Modi.

Patel told The Indian Express that his officials had sought time from the Uttar Pradesh Governor as well as the Chief Minister for a meeting so as to solicit their moral cooperation for ‘Run for Unity’ and ‘Statue of Unity’ project. However,he said,the Governor was reportedly not in city while the CM had a packed schedule.

An official accompanying Patel confirmed that a senior Gujarat government officer had sought appointment from UP CM to meet the delegation 15 days ago.

Patel denied any political significance of the project for the BJP. “Narendra Modiji had announced this project before the Assembly elections in 2012,” he said. Modi had laid the foundation stone of the statue on October 31 and the project is scheduled to be completed in the next three years. He also added a global tender has been floated to select firms for the project.

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