[OFF THE POST] Controversy has surrounded plans to erect a 12-foot tall statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the British city of Leicester after a "No Gandhi" campaign was launched by residents who prefer a statue of former England forward Gary Lineker. Now a TV soccer commentator, Lineker began his career at Leicester City, for which he scored 95 goals. Gandhi, who died in 1948, is known as the Father of the Nation of India and the world's most famous pacifist.
"[Gandhi] has no connection to English culture or the English, therefore a statue of him would be more suitably erected in India," Leicester resident Lee Ingram, instigator of the "No Gandhi Statue" petition, said of the man who led India's independence movement against English rule.
But more than a quarter of Leicester's population of about 300,000 is of Indian origin and proponents say Gandhi's teachings transcend nationality and the monument would serve as a reminder of his philosophy of peace.
"A statue [of Gandhi] will be an excellent symbol of his and Leicester's commitment to diversity," said Keith Vaz, a British Member of Parliament who represents Leicester East.
The $40,000 cost of the Gandhi statue would be paid for by the Samanwaya Parivar charity, which stated that, "We have never said that there should not be any other statues in Leicester."
Lineker, who scored 47 goals for England, including 10 World Cup strikes, is also famous for never having received a yellow or red card in his career.