Modi also attacked the Prime Minister on the issue of installing a gate on the Sardar Sarovar Dam which has been pending for a long time. He alleged that Gujarat is being discriminated against by the Centre for political reasons.

Taking on the Prime Minister for his comments on October 29 that he is proud of Patel belonging to his party, Modi said, "Rana Pratap, Chhatrapati Shivaji, Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru are highly respected. Were they BJP members? Will only those who belong to the BJP be given respect and honour? Country is greater than the party and those who sacrifice themselves for the nation are great."

He emphasized that nobody, not even him, can deny that Patel belonged to a party but his stature was such that he is respected by all. "We should not divide our legacy," Modi said.

BJP's prime ministerial candidate, who was speaking at the inauguration of a project to build the tallest statue of Sardar Patel here, also attacked Singh and the Congress on the issue of secularism.

"I would really like to honour the Prime Minister for saying that Patel was truly secular. We also say that Patel was truly secular. The country needs Patel's secularism and not votebank secularism. He was secular yet his secularism did not come in the way of building the Somnath Temple. Mr Prime Minister, the country needs secularism that does not divide the country but unites it," Modi said.

The BJP leader alleged that despite repeated requests to the Prime Minister, the gates on Sardar Sarovar Dam have not been constructed. Indicating that this was due to politics and discrimination against Gujarat, Modi said the Centre and the Congress can take all the credit for it but should build the gate without any further delay.

Modi said that Patel had not discriminated against the rulers-who belonged to different religions, communities, traditions and linguistic backgrounds- while integrating the country.

Citing the example of Bhimrao Ambedkar, Modi said he is a God-like figure for Dalits and the weaker sections but his life and his struggle serve as an inspiration for all.

"His secularism brought everybody together. It did not divide. This is a united legacy. We should all be proud of it. Our heart should be for the country and for each great man of this nation," Modi said.

The Gujarat Chief Minister attacked the "secular" parties by invoking Mahatma Gandhi. "Gandhi had fought to end untouchability. But another untouchability still exists and that is political untouchability. We need to end it," he said.

Referring to the on-going clamour among parties to own Patel's legacy, Modi said, "A party or an organization may gain politically from such fights but the country's pride is hurt in the process."

Modi recalled that when he initiated the process to construct a Mahatma mandir in the name of Gandhi nobody "challenged" him that a BJP leader should not do it. "But why this problem now?" he said.

Taking a dig at Congress, Modi said it has been forced to take out advertisements in newspapers today to mark Patel's birth anniversary due to the move to build this statue.

"This is the Gujarat effect," he said.

Modi justified the decision to build the 182 metre tall statue of Sardar Patel, saying a country of 1.25 billion needs a memorial which will force the world to look upto them. It would also send a message of unity, he added.

Modi thanked Advani for gracing the occasion. Earlier, in his speech, Advani praised Modi, saying it gives him great joy to be present at the inauguration of this project by a person chosen by his party as its PM candidate.


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