PM Modi flags off Run for Unity, hails Sardar Patel, takes dig at Nehru-Gandhi dynasty

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday flagged off the ‘Run for Unity’ at Rajpath on the occasion of the 140th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabbhai Patel, India’s first home minister.

Narendra Modi speaking at Rajpath

Before flagging off the Run for Unity, the PM paid rich tributes to the ‘Iron Man’ of India. At a function attended by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Venkaiah Naidu and Delhi LG Najeeb Jung, Modi also remembered former Indira Gandhi, who was killed by her Sikh guards on this day in 1984.

“Sardar Patel’s heritage cannot be forgotten. He contributed immensely to India’s unity,” said the PM.

“After the great Chanakya, it was Sardar Patel who strung India together with unity,” he added. Modi said that the government had decided to start the Ek Bharat, Sreshth Bharat initiative and it was the nation’s responsibility to make India a great nation, just as Patel had united the country. We have to walk arm-in-arm for this purpose, said Modi.

Crediting Patel for the first Clean India initiative, Modi said he had started a ‘Swachata Abhiyaan’ that went on for 222 days, under the strict eye of Patel. Even Mahatma Gandhi had praised Patel for his initiative, Modi added.

Taking a dig at the Congress party and the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, Modi stated that the one thing that stands out about Patel is that he inspires the thought that there is no family name or member linked to his legacy.

Expounding on the Ek Bharat Shresth Bharat initiative, Modi said it would be about states recognising and learning about another state’s culture and language. Giving an example, he said if Haryana pairs with Tamil Nadu, then school students from Haryana will be taught about Tamil culture and language, while Tamil Nadu students will learn about Haryana’s culture.

Following the speech, the Run for Unity has begun. It was first started last year on October 31.

Before the speech, PM Modi paid tribute to Vallabhbhai Patel, visiting his statue at Patel Chowk.

(With inputs from ANI)