By Qaiser Mohammad Ali
New Delhi, Dec 26 (IANS) A six-foot tall bronze statue of late Arun Jaitley that is to be installed inside the Arun Jaitley Stadium at the Feroz Shah Kotla grounds here on his 68th birth anniversary on December 28 has come at a cost of around Rs 15 lakh and weighs around 800 kg. The veil that will cover the statue has cost Rs 1.5 lakh, said sources.
Jaitley was the president of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) for 14 years from 1999 to 2013, and now his son Rohan Jaitley is heading the body
“As of now, Home Minister Amit Shah is expected to unveil the statue at around noon on Monday, with Arun Jaitley’s family, Union Ministers Hardeep Singh Puri and Anurag Thakur, Indian cricket board president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah, and former India and Delhi captains Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, who is also an MP, likely to be present on the occasion,” a source told IANS.
“At the moment, there is a 50-person cap on gatherings in Delhi due to the Covid-19 pandemic, so only 50 persons would be present on the occasion. Others who would be present include Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, 18 DDCA directors — and possibly their wives — and a few more people,” he said.
The Jaitley statue arrived at the Arun Jaitley Stadium on Saturday afternoon and immediately a security cover was thrown around it, said an eyewitness
“The statue arrived in a truck at around 3 pm on Saturday. The guards at the DDCA are keeping a strict vigil around the truck, from which the statue hasn’t been offloaded yet. It will probably remain in the truck the whole night and would be installed on the three-foot high platform on Sunday,” he said.
“On Monday, the statue will be unveiled at around noon, most probably by Home Minister Amit Shah. Although he is on a two-day visit to Assam and Manipur on Saturday and Sunday, he is likely to be back in Delhi and would unveil the statue on Monday,” he said.
The statue has already met strong opposition from former India and Delhi captain Bishan Singh Bedi, who never got along well with Jaitley and had lost the DDCA president’s election to him in 1999.
On Wednesday, in a strongly worded letter addressed to Rohan Jaitley opposing the plan to install his father’s statue at the iconic venue, Bedi asked him to remove his name from a spectators’ stand inside the Arun Jaitley Stadium. And on Saturday, Bedi warned of “legal recourse” if his name was not removed immediately.
Two stands were named after Bedi and his former India and Delhi teammate Mohinder Amarnath at the stadium, then called Feroz Shah Kotla, in November 2017.
The decision to install a statue of Arun Jaitley was taken at a meeting of the DDCA apex council in October, soon after Rohan Jaitley, a new treasurer, and four other directors were elected. The statue will be installed in the parking area near the Virender Sehwag Gate (Gate No. 1) of the stadium.
The historical venue was built in 1883, and was called the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium until September 12 last year, when it was renamed Arun Jaitley Stadium. Jaitley died on August 24 last year.
Apart from Bedi and Amarnath, the stadium also has stands named after Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir. The next stand is expected to be named in the memory of Chetan Chauhan, a former India opening batsman and DDCA vice-president, who passed away this August 16.
The statue has been designed by the well-known father-son Suthar duo of Ram Sutar Art Creations Pvt Ltd and Ram Sutar Fine Arts Pvt Ltd that designed Sardar Patel’s Statue of Unity — the world’s tallest statue at 597 feet — on the banks of river Narmada in Gujarat.
By Qaiser Mohammad Ali