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Monday, July 23, 2018

An ‘out-of-box’ drive for Statue of Unity

Modi office dispatches bar-coded boxes across country with Sardar Patel merchandise inside

Written by Satish Jha | Ahmedabad | Published: December 5, 2013 4:17:41 am

The mobilisation for the “Statue of Unity” project,anchored from Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s office in Gandhinagar,bears a distinct resemblance to the VHP’s mobilisation for the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya where bricks were called from the entire country.

However,the current mammoth exercise has a more corporate touch to it with some 2.5 lakh specially designed corrugated bar-coded boxes,each packed with a bottle (to bring back soil),a petition on “Suraaj” (good governance),pens,a poster of the proposed Statue of Unity,copies of a personalised letter of invitation from Modi,CDs of the short film on Vallabhbhai Patel and such other merchandise,being despatched to the villages.

The boxes are expected to be returned with signed petitions,chunks of iron farm tools and a photograph of the village sarpanch to maintain a record.

“We will be distributing these boxes among the 2 lakh village panchayat heads and 50,000 representatives of civic bodies in urban localities all across the nation. We will show them the movie on Patel,ask them to sign the petition carrying slogans ‘Patel ne Bharat ko banaya ek,hum milke banayenge shresth’ (Patel unified India,we will together glorify it),” said a source involved in the campaign.

One IPS officer from Gujarat,who is part of the mobilisation team,says,“We are doing this for Sardar Patel,who is considered the maker of the modern Civil Services of India of which we are a part.”

The campaign is conceptualised by Citizens for Accountable Governance (CAG),an NGO based in Gandhinagar and working closely with Modi’s office and comprising young technocrats.

According to the NGO members,who prefer anonymity,the three-month-long campaign is divided into four parts – beginning with the “Run for Unity” on December 15,where over 5 lakh people are expected to visit more than 562 locations on the same day.

It will be followed by a “Pan-India Slogan-Essay Competition” on Sardar Patel by school students across the country. Participating schools will get a resource kit,containing format of the contest along with Modi’s letter urging school principals and students to be a part of the campaign. The winners will get Rs 2.5 crore prize money to be given to principals for school development.

Then there is the photo collage of the sarpanches and elected city representatives to be displayed at the museum in the premises of the Statue of Unity of Sardar Patel,pegged to be the world’s tallest statue at 182 metres,on Sadhu island in Narmada district.

The last leg of the campaign — the “Locality Meetings” — will cover 5.5 lakh villages,towns and cities. Here is where the movie on Sardar Patel will be screened ending with the signing of the Suraaj petition and donation of the piece of iron farm tool.

The bottles,which will be used to collect soil from all these villages,will also get a place in the museum.

This was the largest mass mobilisation in the country following Ram Mandir movement of 80s and 90s,said a source,who is a brain behind this campaign and close to Modi.

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