World’s largest statue unveiled amid controversy over £330m price tag and scale of environmental impact

India’s nationalist prime minister Narendra Modi unveiled the world’s largest statue on Wednesday in a bid to showcase his position as leader of a new, world-beating India.

The statue of Vallabhbhai ‘Sardar’ Patel, one of the heroes of India’s independence movement, stands 188m (597ft) tall in Mr Modi’s home state of Gujarat and has been dubbed the “Statue of Unity”. 

Mr Modi, a hardline member of the Hindu-nationalist BJP party, who is seen by critics as a deeply divisive figure, watched as Indian Air Force planes and helicopters showered the statue with flowers in a political show of force. 

"This memorial to Sardar [Patel] is going to become a worldwide tourist attraction," Mr Modi said in…

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