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Towering statue of India’s independence leader unveiled

Towering statue of India’s independence leader unveiled

KEVADIYA, India (AP) – India’s prime minister has unveiled a towering bronze statue of Sardar Vallabbhai Patel, a key independence leader and the country’s first home minister after British colonialists left in 1947.

The state government says at 182 meters (597 feet), it is one of the tallest statues in the word built at a cost of $403 million in Kevadiya, a village in Gujarat state. Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Patel hail from Gujarat state.

Modi inaugurated the “Statue of Unity” on Wednesday. He had promised the project despite criticism that India as an impoverished nation couldn’t afford to spend so much money on a statue.

Patel was known as the “Iron Man of India” for integrating various states in the post-independence era.

Indian policemen gather next to the Statue of Unity at Kevadiya colony in Gujarat state, India, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018. The 182-meters monument pays tribute to India’s prominent independence leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

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