Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday flagged off ‘Run for Unity’ after paying tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Delhi on the occasion of his birth anniversary, which is being commemorated as Rashtriya Ekta Diwas.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi flags off ‘Run for Unity’, pays tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
Speaking at the event, PM Narendra Modi said, “Today is the inspiring day when we remember Sardar Patel. He joined Mahatma Gandhi and integrated the farmers in the freedom struggle. British wanted that after division, India should be broken into several pieces. But Sardar Patel with his diplomacy unified our nation. Theirs was a unique partnership that bolstered fight for independence”
Prime Minister Modi also drew parallels between Patel and Chanakya. He said, “Centuries ago, Chanakya was known to have united various kingdoms. After Chanakya, it was Sardar Patel.”
Highlighting the role that history plays in any nation, he said, “A country that forgets its history, can’t ever make history. We should not ever forget that we should not drag our legacy into ideology.”
He also reminded the countrymen about India’s legacy of Unity in Diversity and asked people to rise above differences.
“Our culture and legacy is of ‘Unity in Diversity’. Let us rise over differences of creed, community and language,” he said.
Remembering former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on her death anniversary which coincided on the same day, he pointed that it was on the same day the nation lost her.
Earlier in the morning, Modi tweeted, “Sardar Patel’s life is a journey of deep-rooted courage, dedication and service to the Motherland. He is truly the architect of Modern India. I join my fellow countrymen and women in remembering former PM Indira Gandhi on her Punya Tithi,”
The ‘Run for Unity’ from Vijay Chowk to India Gate on Rajpath was flagged off at 8.15 am.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Lieutenant governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung were also present at the function when the Prime Minister paid his tribute.
The government had announced that it would observe the birth anniversary of Patel on October 31 every year as National Unity Day as a tribute to his efforts to unite India.
Narendra Modi’s plan to build India’s first Home Minister Sardar Patel’s 182-metre statue in the middle of Narmada river, is scheduled to be completed before January 26, 2014. This statue, which is being constructed at a cost of Rs. 2,074 crore, will reportedly be twice the size of the Statue of Liberty in the United States.