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Sardar Patel's birth anniversary to be marked as National Unity Day

Home Minister Rajnath Singh has written to all Chief Ministers to observe this day and hold functions at state as well as district levels.

Updated:October 24, 2014, 10:29 PM IST
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Sardar Patel's birth anniversary to be marked as National Unity Day
Home Minister Rajnath Singh has written to all Chief Ministers to observe this day and hold functions at state as well as district levels.

New Delhi: The Modi government on Friday declared October 31 as "Rashtriya Ekta Diwas" (National Unity Day) to mark the birth anniversary of country's first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, continuing its policy of recasting the way national icons are to be commemorated.

Prime Minister Narendra Mod as Gujarat Chief Minister had already launched an initiative to install the tallest iron statue in the world in honour of Patel, a Congress legend who hailed from Gujarat, in Narmada river.

The move Patel comes a week after the Union Cabinet decided that the government will associate only with the birth and death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The anniversaries of other departed leaders may be observed by respective trusts, parties, societies or supporters. It has also decided not to convert government bungalows into memorials.

The new approach had come under attack from Congress and other opposition parties which said the Modi government was trying to appropriate Congress icons and ignore those from the Gandhi-Nehru family or parties that differed from saffron ideology.

In an official statement, the Home Ministry said the occasion will provide an opportunity to re-affirm the inherent strength and resilience of "our nation to withstand the actual and potential threats to the unity, integrity and security of our country".

This day is also the death anniversary of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who was shot dead by her bodyguards in 1984. However, there is no mention about Gandhi in the release.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh has written to all Chief Ministers to observe this day and hold functions at state as well as district levels.

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