Early on Saturday morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his 140th birth anniversary in Delhi. Recalling the contributions of the 'Iron Man', he said that his ideology and heritage cannot be forgotten.
"He contributed immensely to India's unity. After Chanakya, it was Sardar Patel who strung India together with unity," he said.
He added that the entire country needs to join hands for development. "One India, great India (Ek Bharat Shreshth Bharat) once implemented will be states recognising and learning about another state's culture & language," he asserted.
Talking about his own clean India campaign, he noted that the mission was initially the brainchild of the Iron Man. "Sardar Patel started a Swachta Abhiyaan that went on for 222 days. This effort went on under strict eye of Sardar Patel and it was Gandhi ji who noted and appreciated the effort," he said.
In an apparent jibe at the Congress, Modi asserted that "Sardar Patel inspires the thought that there is no family name or members linked to his legacy."
Modi flagged-off a 'Run for Unity' event at Rajpath and administered the pledge of unity. The PM also offered floral tributes at Sardar Patel's statue on Parliament street.
Approximately 15,000 people are participating in the event. The Delhi Police has advised commuters to avoid areas near Rajpath and Rafi Marg which have been cordoned off for the run.