On a day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled an imposing 182-metre statue of
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the world's tallest, veteran Communist leader Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy demanded to know why a bigger statue of Mahatma Gandhi was not built by the BJP.
He said while there was no objection over the monument built for Patel, what was surprising was why a bigger statue for the father of the nation, who was also born in Gujarat, was not thought of.
"They (BJP) do not like his (Gandhi's) secularism, that is why they have not taken up (build his statue). Instead, they have gone for Patel, who had rightist ideas," the CPI general secretary alleged.
Reddy also charged the BJP with trying to "appropriate" the legacy of Patel.
"We have no objection to Sardar Patel's statue. With all due respect to him (Patel), we feel Mahatma Gandhi is the tallest leader of Indian politics...Indian people...he is the father of the nation," he told PTI.
"Mahatma Gandhi's statue should have been bigger, he is leader of the highest stature than anybody else," he said.
Noting that Patel had banned the RSS for some time after Gandhi's assassination, Reddy said, "he (Patel) can never be the leader of the BJP or Sangh Pariwar though these people try to 'snatch' him from the Congress".
"They prefer Patel because he was a rightist leader...
political, ideological and academic issues--he was towards the right. BJP wants to somehow, take him as their leader...they do not have a national leader of big stature, so, they want to snatch Patel from Congress party," Reddy claimed.