New Delhi: The BJP's Delhi unit organised a run — 'Rashtriya Ekta Daud' — in the national capital on Wednesday morning to celebrate the 143rd birth anniversary of India's first home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
Several senior BJP leaders and Union ministers participated in the event. Taking part in the run at Gokalpur in north-east Delhi, along with Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "Sardar Patel was a great leader who united the princely states. His statue, which is the tallest in the world, will be unveiled (by Prime Minister Narendra Modi) today."
"It is (Patel's birth anniversary) a national festival which is being celebrated across the country," Prasad said while alleging that it took 41 years to honour the first home minister of India with Bharat Ratna as the Congress was concerned with only one family. Sardar Patel was bestowed the country's highest civilian award posthumously in 1991, 41 years after his death in 1950.
"We do not oppose Nehru. But we protest the idea that everything was done by the Nehru family and nothing by Sardar Patel," Prasad said. Tiwari said people would not be able to move freely across the country had Sardar Patel not united the princely states.
Union Ministers Harsh Vardhan and Vijay Goel joined the participants of the 'Rashtriya Ekta Daud' in Keshavpuram and Chandni Chowk respectively. BJP general secretary (organisation) Ramlal took part in the run at Mehrauli, while his colleague Bhupendra Yadav attended it in New Delhi district.
On the birth anniversary of Patel on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will unveil the 'Statue of Unity' in Gujarat's Narmada district. The 182-metre-high structure of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel is touted the world's tallest. It is twice the height of the Statue of Liberty in the US and is built on Sadhu Bet, an islet near the Sardar Sarovar Dam.