Gandhinagar: Former Gujarat Chief Minister Shankersinh Vaghela took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and asked him to unite the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) first before plunging into any other project, thus hinting at the ambitious Sardar Patel’s “Statue of Unity” project.

Mocking the ‘unity’ in the “Statue of Unity” project, Vaghela said that the Prime Minister should deal with the internal fighting among the top brass of leading institutions like CBI and the RBI that has emerged into the public domain. Taking yet another dig at the ambitious project, Vaghela said, “Which unity are you talking about? First unite the CBI, the RBI. Unite for saving the downfall of the Indian rupee, unite for bringing down fuel prices.”

Vaghela went on to add that if at all one is talking about Sardar, then the jailed Patidar youth must be released first, referring to Alpesh Kathiriya, a close associate of firebrand Patidar leader Hardik Patel, who is in jail on sedition charges.

The former Gujarat chief minister added that the Sardar Patel’s “Statue of Unity” project was nothing but a hogwash and a marketing strategy. He further insinuated the fact by asking, “Why the sudden love for Sardar whose very name you did not like once?”

Vaghela said, “There can be no comparison between the simplicity and austerity of the Iron Man of India, Sardar Patel, and the construction and the motive behind the State of Unity. The project is of around Rs. 3,000 crore, a sheer wastage and unproductive expense of public money when Gujarat is laden with a public debt of Rs.2,50,000 crore.”

The former chief minister said, “I see the unveiling of the Statue of Unity as a desperate attempt by the BJP to gain political mileage and nothing else. They are losing public support. Not a single work was done by this government in four-and-half years for the common man. Tribals are unhappy, farmers are committing suicides… The government should listen to them,” he added.

The Prime Minister is slated to unveil 182-metre tallest statue in the world, Statue of Unity (SoU), at Kevadia in Narmada district on the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel on Wednesday.