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Referring to the "statue of unity", the PM said that Indians will be able to feel proud at the world's largest statue being built in India. "31st of October also is the death anniversary of our former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi".

Activists said about a dozen of their leaders had been detained before Prime Minister Narendra Modi officially opened the tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, with an air force jet flyover, helicopters showering flowers on the statue and fireworks in the green, orange and white national colors.

Questioning the critics of the structure, Modi said it "amazed" him that "some people" would "see this initiative from a political view" and "criticise us like we committed a huge crime". As many as 3,400 workers and 250 engineers worked round-the-clock for 42 months to make the dream project of PM Modi a reality.

Recalling Patel's contribution in uniting the nation, Modi said the leader ensured "the merger of all princely states with the Dominion of India".

On Wednesday, Modi said Patel was a beacon of hope for India in the time of crisis and he will be a source of inspiration for ages to come.

Gujarat government chief secretary JN Singh said that dance troupes from across India would perform at the inauguration.

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On Tuesday evening, Modi who arrived in Gujarat was welcomed by Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Governor O P Kohli, Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja and chief secretary J N Singh upon his arrival at the Ahmedabad airport.

The accusations are a distortion of history, says Congress, which ruled India for much of its independence history and is now led by Rahul Gandhi, the great-grandson of Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister.

A tribute to the "Iron Man of India", the memorial has been built with iron pieces collected from farmers across the country.

The statue is more than twice the size of New York's Statue of Liberty and also dwarfs the 128-metre Spring Temple Buddha in China, the world's second-biggest statue. It will feature a viewing gallery at the height of 153 metres and can host over 200 tourists at once.

"Looming 182 meters (597 feet) above the Narmada River in the western Indian state of Gujarat, the statue will reveal a figure molded from approximately 1 850 metric tons of bronze."


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