Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday praised India’s first home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, saying he played a great role in uniting the country after Independence.
The prime minister was speaking at a function to mark the birth anniversary of the ‘Iron Man of India’ at the local Dhyan Chand National Stadium.
On the occasion, Modi also flagged off a ‘Run for Unity’ from the venue and administered an oath of unity to the crowd.
Modi’s government started celebrating October 31 as Rashtriya Ekta Diwas (National Unity Day) after came to power in 2014.
“Today, the country from Kashmir to Kanyakumari is under one flag... its credit goes to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel,” Modi said.
Patel, as the first home minister of India, was instrumental in integrating 564 independent princely states into the Union of India after Independence from British rule in 1947.
The day was also celebrated as the ‘Martyrdom Day’ of former prime minister Indira Gandhi, who was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards on October 31, 1984.
Modi said the British, before leaving the country in 1947, had ensured that India splits into small states.
“While leaving the country, the British had played politics to divide India into numerous small states, but Sardar Patel made sure that it stays one nation,” he added.
Modi said every Indian wants to see India as a strong country, and to ensure this, the people must stay alert against divisive forces.
People take part in the ‘Run for Unity’ which was held to mark National Unity Day and flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in New Delhi yesterday.