Chairman of Bajaj Auto Rahul Bajaj has donated the largest amount so far, £200,000, to the Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust set up to raise nearly 1 million pounds for a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Parliament Square here early next year.
Meghnad Desai, chairman of the trust, said on Friday: “This is a wonderful gift for the trust just before the New Yea. Rahul Bajaj epitomises the best of Indian industrialists who have seen the transition of India from colonial rule to independence”.
The trust now expects that the rest of the funds required for the project will come through by January. It said in a press release that small and large donations continued to flow in through the trust's website (
) from Gandhi followers in the UK and all over the world.
The trust organised an exhibition in New Delhi to raise funds for the statue, which was announced by chancellor George Osborne during his visit to India in July. The statue, produced by British sculptor Philip Jackson, has been sent to the foundry for casting.
The trust earlier received a donation of 100,000 pounds from Indian-origin businessman Rami Ranger, who later joined as a trustee, along with Gopalkrishna Gandhi, former governor of West Bengal.
Efforts are said to be on to ensure that the statue is unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in early 2015, but the forthcoming general elections in Britain in May is likely to be a factor in his decision to attend the unveiling ceremony or not.