New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday accused the Narendra Modi government of “treason” saying there was a “systematic destruction” of institutions that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had helped build. Also Read - Moody's India Rating a Step Above Junk, Worst to Come: Rahul Gandhi

Gandhi’s remarks came after PM Modi inaugurated the 182-metre statue of Patel – State of Unity – in Gujarat’s Kevadiya. Also Read - My Life, My Yoga: PM Modi Launches Video Blogging Contest for Citizens, Winner to Get Rs 1 Lakh Prize Money

Taking a swipe at Modi, the Congress chief tweeted, “Ironic that a statue of Sardar Patel is being inaugurated, but every institution he helped build is being smashed.” Also Read - Lockdown 5.0? Netizens Gear Up to Face the Extension With Hilarious Memes & Jokes

“The systematic destruction of India’s institutions is nothing short of treason,” he said.

In another tweet, Gandhi said Patel was a patriot, who fought for a independent, united and secular India.

“A man with a steely will, tempered by compassion, he was a Congressman to the core, who had no tolerance for bigotry or communalism. On his birth anniversary, I salute this great son of India,” he tweeted.

The giant monument, named as the ‘Statue of Unity’ and built on an islet Sadhu Bet near Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat’s Narmada district, is twice the height of the Statue of Liberty in the US and taller than the 153-metre Spring Temple Buddha in China.

The monument was conceptualised by Modi during his tenure as Gujarat Chief Minister and he had laid the foundation stone for it in 2013.

Patel, the first Home Minister of Independent India, is credited with merging 550 princely states into the Union of India. He had used force to annex princely states of Junagadh ruled by Nawab and Hyderabad ruled by nizam, both of whom had wished not to merge their states with the India union.

(With PTI inputs)