Gujarat golden jubilee celebrations begin (Lead)May 1st, 2010 - 9:19 pm ICT by IANS
Gandhinagar, May 1 (IANS) Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi kicked off the state’s golden jubilee celebrations Saturday by laying the foundation stone of a Mahatma Mandir here while the opposition Congress boycotted the function and held a separate rally.
Modi, accompanied by former deputy prime minister L.K. Advani, laid the foundation stone of the Mahatma Mandir to be built here at an estimated cost of Rs.100 crore.
“This edifice will reflect (Mahatma) Gandhi’s life and philosophy on the one hand and the prosperity of Gujarat on the other,” Modi said at a function to mark the commencement of the project.
“Work on the project is beginning right away and the first phase will be completed this day a year later,” Modi said.
The Mahatma Mandir, spread over 34 acres, will have a business centre, exhibition halls, a memorial and garden on Gandhi and a suspension bridge in memory of the Dandi march. The piers of the suspension bridge will have windmills.
The memorial is designed in the form of a salt mount since the salt satyagraha (movement) was an important milestone in the country’s freedom struggle. The salt mount would house a meditation hall and a museum.
The Gandhi garden will have life-sized sculptures of Mahatma Gandhi.
The Congress rally, just two km from the place where Modi laid the foundation stone of the Mahatma Mandir, was attended by a galaxy of leaders.
“The founding fathers of the state enshrined the values of simplicity in celebrations and service before self in conduct while laying the foundations of the state and we intend to adhere to this,” said Gujarat Congress chief Siddharth Patel while addressing the rally.
Leader of Opposition in the assembly Shaktisinh Gohil said that the Congress, which was all for joining in the official celebrations, was forced to disassociate itself from it when Modi sought to turn a state function into the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s affair.
“The progress and development of Gujarat has been because of the progressive, far-sighted and development-oriented approach of its people and no single individual can take credit for it all,” Gohil added.
Ahmed Patel, political advisor to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, said the state’s Congress chief ministers had laid a solid foundation for its growth.
The function, which marked the culmination of its Gujarat ‘gaurav yatras’ taken out from various parts of the state, was attended by all three members of the union cabinet from the state - Dinsha Patel, Bharat Solanki and Tushar Chaudhary.
Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat also attended the function.
Former Gujarat chief ministers Madhavsinh Solanki, Shankersinh Vaghela and Dilip Parikh were also present.
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Tags: centre exhibition, congress chief, dandi march, deputy prime minister, exhibition halls, freedom struggle, gandhi garden, gohil, golden jubilee celebrations, janata party, l k advani, laying the foundation, leader of opposition, mahatma gandhi, mandir, meditation hall, narendra modi, opposition congress, siddharth, suspension bridge