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PM Modi will unveil the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel's statue, which is the tallest statue in the world as its 182 metres high.

It is 200 feet higher than the world's next tallest, the Spring Temple Buddha in China, and twice the height of New York's Statute of Liberty.

The official Statue of Unity website also states that it is meant to 'remind every individual of our great nation's freedom struggle.

"Patel wanted India to be a forceful, strong, sensitive, vigilant and accommodative nation, and we're working towards that", Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at Wednesday's ceremony.

Modi hailed Sardar Patel's "strategic thinking" in bringing together the disparate country after independence in 1947 and described the Statue of Unity as "a symbol of our engineering and technical prowess". He had promised to deliver the project, despite criticism that India couldn't afford to spend so much money on such an indulgence.

Balloons in the colours of the Indian flag were release, and air force planes showered flower petals on the statue, which was built at a cost of over $881 million - a bill which proved controversial. However, this project was started by PM Modi five years ago, when he was a Chief Minister of Gujarat on 31st October 2013.

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"BJP and RSS leaders used to attack my government over the construction of Dalit memorials and statues, including of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar, in Lucknow and Noida".

He said Patel was a Congress leader and BJP should not be allowed to adopt him. He is also seen as an important figure in uniting the country, and is credited with convincing most of the individual states in the region to join India over Pakistan after the British left.

Sardar Patel was a deputy prime minister in India's first post-independence government. It is made up of almost 100,000 tonnes of concrete and steel.

Locals in the Narmada district of Gujarat state, where the statue is located, threatened to protest the statue's unveiling.

It towers over the nearby Narmada Dam, in the Shoolpaneshwar wildlife sanctuary, and will be connected by bridge to a museum and audio-visual gallery, three-star hotel and garden in Patel's honour.


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