Congress leader Anand Sharma on Monday said a ban order for the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, issued by Vallabhbhai Patel in 1948, should be placed at the foot of his soon-to-be-unveiled statue in Gujarat, PTI reported. Patel was home minister at the time. The “Statue of Unity” will be inaugurated in Narmada district later this month in Patel’s memory.

“There is a written order by Patel in 1948 about banning, following the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi…the same order should be placed at the base of the statue, so that the country will get to know Patel’s thoughts about them [RSS],” Sharma said at a press conference in Pune. The ban was later lifted.

“They [RSS-BJP] do not have heroes of their own...So they are making the Statue of Unity of Sardar Patel and that too, [it] has been made in China,” the Congress leader said.

Sharma criticised the government for publicising schemes promoting innovation and production in India, but instead got the statue made in China. The statue has been built at a cost of about Rs 3,000 crore, and at 182 meters, it will be the tallest in the world.

Rafale and #MeToo

Sharma also accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of conducting a “cover-up operation” in the Rafale deal. “There is a massive cover-up operation going on to hide the Rafale scam and that is why we are appealing the Supreme Court to put a seal [place in a sealed cover] on all the files and notings related to the deal,” he said.

On the MeToo movement in India and allegations of sexual harassment by some women journalists against Union minister MJ Akbar, Sharma said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence is unacceptable.