The Shiv Sena Monday asked Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to declare that the proposed statue of Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji off the Mumbai coast will be the tallest in the world, and not be "scared" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah over the issue.
The Sena said Nationalist Congress Party's (NCP) Maharashtra unit chief Jayant Patil has claimed the height of Shivaji's statue has been decreased to ensure that the 'Statue of Unity', dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, remains the tallest.
It said Fadnavis should use the same courage that he displayed in announcing quota for the Maratha community, and not be "scared" of Prime Minister Modi and Shah over the issue of Shivaji statue's height.
Decreasing the height of Shivaji's statue to make Sardar Patel's statue look taller is "narrow and distorted mindset", the Sena said in an editorial in party mouthpiece 'Saamana'.
"Fadnavis should use the same courage that he showed while granting reservation to the Maratha community and fearlessly announce that Shivaji's statue would be the tallest in the world, and not get scared of Amit Shah and Modi. This will not diminish the prestige of Sardar Patel," it said.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led party reminded Fadnavis that earlier, then Union finance minister Chintamanrao Deshmukh in the Jawaharlal Nehru government had shown courage to tender his resignation, to ensure Mumbai stayed with Maharashtra.
It rued that while the 'Statue of Unity' has already been unveiled and opened for public viewing, not a single brick has been laid for the construction of Shivaji's statue.
There are now doubts being raised if there was an internal conspiracy to make Shivaji's statue seem like a dwarf compared to the structure dedicated to Sardar Patel, it said.
Shivaji's statue should be larger than that of any other leader and all parties should come together for it, said the Sena, which is an ally of the BJP at the Centre and in Maharashtra.
Prime Minister Modi had on October 31 inaugurated the imposing 182-metre statue of Sardar Patel, the first Home Minister of Independent India, in Gujarat's Narmada district.
The Congress and the NCP had said in the Maharashtra Assembly in July that the height of Shivaji's statue, to be built in the Arabian Sea off the Mumbai coast, was being reduced, a claim rejected by Fadnavis, who had asserted that it will be the tallest in the world.
According to the state government's reply submitted earlier to an RTI query, certain height specifications of the proposed Chhatrapati Shivaji Memorial have been changed to reduce the cost of the project.
In the new design, the height of the warrior king's statue would be reduced by 7.5 metres, although the sword he wields will be taller than in the original design.
However, these changes will not alter the total height of the statue, which would be 121.2 metres. The height of the entire structure, including the pedestal, would be 212 metres, the government said in its RTI reply.
The height of Chhatrapati Shivaji's statue has now been reduced to 75.7 metres from the earlier 83.2 metres. But in order to maintain the statue's overall height of 121.2 metres, the length of the sword has been raised from 38 metres to 45.5 metres, the government said.
"The height of the pedestal has been reduced to 87.4 metres from the earlier 96.2 metres. This change in the pedestal's height will save Rs 338.94 crore," it had said.