On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off a 1.5-kilometre run to commemorate the 142nd birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, one of the founders of the Republic of India. On the occasion, Modi said that it was due to the statesmanship and political acumen of the country's first home minister that India is united today despite the colonial rulers' wish that it was disintegrated into smaller states after Independence.
"There have been attempts to run down Patel, to ensure that the contribution of Patel is forgotten. But Sardar is Sardar, whether any government or any party recognises his contribution or not, the nation and the youth will not forget him," he said without naming any government or party.
The central government celebrates 31 October, the birth anniversary of Vallabhbhai Patel, as Rashtriya Ekta Diwas. Several Run for Unity events were organised across India to mark the occasion.
After Modi, many other political leaders paid respects to Patel.
BJP president Amit Shah flagged off a Run for Unity in Shimla while Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal did the same in Guwahati:
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) October 31, 2017
Senior Cabinet ministers Smriti Irani and Rajnath Singh too paid respects to Patel:
Remembering Architect of Modern India - Bharat Ratna Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his birth anniversary !! pic.twitter.com/fc7VQIMAlr
— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) October 31, 2017
Sardar Patel was the main force behind upholding India’s unity and integrity at the time of independence. I bow to him on his Jayanti today. — Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) October 31, 2017
Even though Modi mentioned that 31 October is also the death anniversary of former India prime minister Indira Gandhi, it was underplayed. Expectedly, while BJP politicians paid tribute to Patel, non-BJP politicians remembered Gandhi:
Forgiveness is a virtue of the brave: Indira Gandhi pic.twitter.com/kjlDwVslpW
— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) October 31, 2017
An embodiment of integrity & strength, Sardar Patel was one of the architects of Idea of India. My tributes to him on his birth anniversary. pic.twitter.com/RgoGklx9kA — Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) October 31, 2017
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) October 31, 2017
Remembering two visionary,great & courageous leaders - Iron lady #IndiraGandhi & Iron Man of India Sardar Patel Ji. My sincere salutations & tributes for these great souls. — Tejashwi Yadav (@yadavtejashwi) October 31, 2017
Finally, Mamata Banerjee remembered another great Indian as well:
Solemnly remembering SD Burman on his death anniversary
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) October 31, 2017
Updated Date: Oct 31, 2017 11:46 AM