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‘Construction of Statue of Equality predates Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’: Union Minister G Kishan Reddy responds to Rahul Gandhi’s ‘China-Nirbhar’ barb

Union Minister G Kishan Reddy explains to Rahul Gandhi that the Statue of Equality was constructed using money donated by the public and govt didn't fund it

The attempt by Rahul Gandhi to politicise the Prime Minister’s recent event in Hyderabad where he unveiled the Statue of Equality of Saint Sri Ramanujacharya seems to have backfired as he was firmly rebutted by the Minister of Culture, Tourism and Development of North-Eastern Region, G Kishan Reddy

Earlier in the day, the Congress Member of Parliament (MP) from Wayanad, Kerala had tweeted, “Statue of Equality is Made in China. ‘New India’ is China-nirbhar?” This came after media reports saying that the Statue of Equality was made in China.

The Minister of Culture, Tourism and DoNER, G Kishan Reddy responded stating that the Statue of Equality was commissioned more than 8 years ago when the Congress was in Government both at the Centre and in the state of Telangana. Reddy also pointed out that as it was a private spiritual entity that had built the statue and that the government did not have any say in where they chose to source the material from or where they built it.

The Minister tweeted “1. Statue of Equality is a project of a private spiritual entity conceived 8+ years ago. 2. At that time Congress was in power in both centre & state. 3. 100% funds were raised privately & GoI provided NO financial support. 4. The statue preceded PM’s call for Atmanirbhar Bharat”.

It is notable that My Home Group of Industries, a private company, had signed a contract with a Chinese firm for the construction of the statue. The company had also donated the land where the statue has been installed, and the entire cost of the project, around ₹1000 crore, has been met with donations from the public.

The Government had provided no funding as the entire amount was raised privately. The Minister also pointed out the chronology as the Prime Minister had announced the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan (Self-reliant India campaign) in 2020 and the statue of EQuality preceded this campaign. It may be worth noting that it was on 12 May 2020 that Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised a call to the nation giving a kick start to Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. On that day he announced the Special economic and comprehensive package of INR 20 lakh crores – equivalent to 10% of India’s GDP – to fight COVID-19 pandemic in India.

Union Minister G Kishan Reddy also said that this trigger-happy tweeting only exposes Rahul Gandhi’s own ignorance and shallowness. The Minister also stated that these continued statements by Rahul Gandhi without knowing facts continues to sink himself and reduce his party to dust. The Minister also alluded to the Memorandum of Understanding that the Congress party had signed with the Communist Party of China, saying “It’s also quite ironical coming from a party that signed an MoU with the CPC”.

On the 5th of February, the Prime Minister was in Hyderabad to inaugurate the 216-feet tall ‘Statue of Equality’ that commemorates the 11th-century Bhakti Saint Sri Ramanujacharya. The Chief Minister of Telangana, K. Chandrashekhar Rao had skipped welcoming the Prime Minister at the airport and chose to send Mr. Talasani Srinivas Yadav, Minister of Fisheries as the Minister-in-Waiting to receive the Prime Minister. The Chief Minister and his son were conspicuously absent from the inauguration event.

There is enough evidence to state that the Statue of Equality was conceived when the Congress Party was in power at both the Centre and the state. The website of the Statue of Equality states that “HH Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji laid the foundation stone for 216 Feet “Statue of Equality – Samatha Murthi”  in the sprawling new 45 acre area in JIVA Campus in Sri Ramanagar on the outskirts of Hyderabad on 2014 May 2nd Akshaya Thruthiya Day – One of the most auspicious days in a year, the day on which any good program started will meet with great success.”

The Lok Sabha results were announced only on 16th May 2014 which brought the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to form the government at the Centre with Narendra Modi as Prime Minister. Moreover, as the foundation stone was laid on 2nd May, it means the statue was planned much ahead. The Twitter account of the state of equality also shows that it was created in March 2014 showing that a significant amount of planning was already done.

It is notable that the construction of large metal statues is a highly specialised job, with very limited orders in a year. Therefore, there are only a few Chinese companies with expertise in this field. The website of the Statue of Equality states that initially, they had approached Chinese firm Aerosun Corporation Art Statue Sub-Company, as this company is most prominent in the field. However, later few more Chinese companies, and an Indian company had also joined the bid. After considering all the proposals, the contract with signed with Aerosun for the construction of the statue. The MoU with the company was signed on 14th August 2015.

During the construction of the Statue of Unity also, the world’s tallest statue, it was claimed by the Congress party that it was made in China. However, that was a fake claim, as most of the work for the statue was done by Indian firm Larsen & Toubro (L&T) in India. However, the outer bronze layer of the statute was made by a Chinese firm, for same reason as stated above, only a few Chinese firms have the expertise needed for that job. It was found that none of the 15 major bronze foundries in India was capable of building the outer cladding, after which L&T had initiated global tenders.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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