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Indian PM Modi unveils Basaveshwara bust on Albert Embankment

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi visited the South Bank on Saturday morning to unveil a bust of 12th century philosopher, statesman and poet Basaveshwara.

Indian PM Modi unveils Basaveshwara bust on Albert Embankment
The bust is located opposite the junction of Albert Embankment and Tinworth Street
Indian PM Modi unveils Basaveshwara bust on Albert Embankment
Narendra Modi unveiled the statue on Saturday morning
Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi addressed guests at the riverside ceremony
Indian PM Modi unveils Basaveshwara bust on Albert Embankment
The Indian prime minister waved as he left Albert Embankment after the ceremony
Indian PM Modi unveils Basaveshwara bust on Albert Embankment
Keith Vaz MP, John Bercow MP, Steve Reed MP, Priti Patel MP and Lord Archer of Weston Super Mare
Indian PM Modi unveils Basaveshwara bust on Albert Embankment
Commons speaker John Bercow received a bust of himself from Dr Neeraj Patil
Indian PM Modi unveils Basaveshwara bust on Albert Embankment
The Friends of Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens received a cheque for 250,000

The project to erect the statue has been masterminded by Dr Neeraj Patil, a former Lambeth Labour councillor and past mayor of the borough.

Planning permission for the statue in Albert Embankment Gardens – next to Peninsula Heights – was granted in 2012.

Funding for the project has included a contribution of more than 400,000 from the Indian state of Karnataka.

Guests at the unveiling ceremony included Lord Archer, whose home overlooks the site, and House of Commons speaker John Bercow.

They were joined by employment minister Priti Patel MP, former Lambeth Council leader Steve Reed MP and home affairs select committee chair Keith Vaz MP.

There was tight security on Albert Embankment for Mr Modi's visit and the road was closed to traffic while the ceremony – which was broadcast live on Indian television – took place.

A giant cheque for 250,000 was presented to the Friends of Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens to fulfil a promise made by the Basaveshwara Foundation to contribute to the upkeep of local green space.

The statue was completed earlier this year but has remained under wraps until the visit of the Indian prime minister.

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