Narendra Modi
Narendra ModiReuters

After Delhi BJP president Vijay Goel requested rival politician and chief minister Sheila Dikshit to attend his mega rally in Delhi last month, NDA prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has sent a special invite to one of his most fervent critics Union Minister of Rural Development, Jairam Ramesh.  

The letter by Gujarat CM Modi to Jairam opens with 'My dear Jairam Ji' and ends with 'warm personal regards'.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) nominee has asked the Congress leader to attend a traditional groundbreaking ceremony (or bhoomipujan) for the proposed giant statue of Modi's favoured freedom fighter, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, on the 31 October in Kevadia colony in the Narmad district of Gujarat.

"It is our belief that the monument will become an important cornerstone in the cultural and social life of our great nation," Modi wrote in the letter.

The proposed statue  will be twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty in the US and 182 metres in height. The statue would be similarly placed in the middle of a water body, more than 200 kilometres south of Ahmedabad, in Narmada river, near the Saradar Sarovar dam at Kevadia.

Earlier this month, the Congress leader took a jibe at Modi saying that the Gujarat CM had a delayed 'enlightenment' when he said, "Pehle shauchalaya, phir devalaya (first toilets, then temples)" while addressing a rally. The Rural Development minister had been attacked by the BJP when he made a similar statement last year.

The antics between the two leaders have intensified this election year. In June, Ramesh called Modi a mythological character who tried to destroy his creator Bhasmasur.