The birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the first Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister is being observed as Rashtriya Ekta Diwas across the nation today. The main function was organized at Vijay Chowk in the national capital where Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the Run for Unity.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also administered the Unity Pledge to thousands of people present there to participate in the run.
Prominent among those who joined the Prime Minister in the run were Union Ministers Venkaiah Naidu, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Leiutenant Governor of Delhi, Najeeb Jung, wrestlers Sushil Kumar, Yogeshwar Dutt, Boxer Vijender Singh and cricketer Gautam Gambhir.
Addressing the gathering, Prime Minister said that India and its citizens can never forget the contribution of Sardar Patel as he integrated the nation through his skill, vision and patriotism. He said, history and legacy of the country should not be divided on the ideological lines.
Stating that country’s culture and legacy is of Unity in Diversity, the Prime Minister asked the citizens to rise above caste, creed, community and language and stand for unity of the country. He said, Mahatma Gandhi appears incomplete without Sardar Patel as he played an integral role in the freedom struggle. Mr Modi said, the country which forgets history can never create history. In his speech, he also remembered former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who was assassinated on this day in 1984.
Speaking on the occasion, Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said that history has not done justice to Sardar Patel who single handedly unified the nation by integrating over 550 princely states. He said, had Patel been the first Prime Minister the situation would have been different. Earlier, Mr Modi paid floral tributes at the statue of independent India’s first Home Minister at Patel Chowk in Parliament Street. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also offered tributes to Sardar Patel.