Gujarat’s Energy Minister Saurabh Patel on Tuesday sought to allay fears of hindi speaking migrants in the wake of recent hate attacks on them and assured people of Bihar that they should feel “100 per cent” safe in the western state.
Patel is on a three-day visit to Patna to invite Bihar Governor Lalji Tandon, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi and people of the state to visit the ‘statue of unity’ of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, being dedicated to the nation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Oct 31 on Sardar’s birth anniversary.
The Gujarat minister blamed Congress legislator Alpesh Thakor for the attacks on migrants and said they were “political in nature”.
Rape of a minor girl allegedly by a person hailing from Bihar recently had triggered attacks on migrants particularly from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh across Gujarat resulting in their flight back home from there out of fear.
“It (attacks) were political in nature… I am not only extending invitation to the people of Bihar but also giving assurance to them that they should feel 100 per cent safe (in Gujarat),” Patel told reporters here.
“There is no need to be concerned for the safety of people of Bihar living in Gujarat… People of all states have contributed to the development of Gujarat ever since it was created in 1960… People from north Indian states, Bihar and Odisa have also contributed a lot,” he said.
“Peace that has prevailed since 1960 among Gujarati and non-Gujarati (people) will continue,” he added highlighting that Gujarat’s two top officials– the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police (DGP)– were from Bihar.
The energy minister further asked Bihar Congress leaders why they were promoting an “anti-national” like Thakor who was disturbing the peace in Gujarat.
Thakor is an All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary in-charge for Bihar.
Speaking about his meetings with Nitish Kumar, Sushil Kumar Modi and the Bihar Governor, Patel said an invitation was extended on behalf of Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and the dignitaries can visit the state after November 1 as per their convenience.
Sardar’s statue of unity is 182-metre high, which is the world’s tallest statue built at a cost of Rs 2,332 crore, he said, adding that 70,000 metric tonnes of cement, 18,500 reinforcement metric tonnes of steel, 6,000 metric tonnes of structural steel and 1700 metric tonnes of bronze was used in the construction.
The project is the brainchild and life-time dream of the prime minister who laid the foundation stone of the project in 2013 when he was the Gujarat Chief Minister, Patel said.
“It was a long pending desire of PM Narendra Modi to commemorate the life and work of Sardar Patel in such a manner that it continues to inspire Indians in the current generation and in the future,” Patel said.
The governments which came to power after Independence only gave credit to the Nehru family and the prime minister wanted to give Sardar Patel his due, the minister said, adding that soil collected from across the country was used to build the foundation of the statue.