Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday paid floral tributes to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel at the Statue of Unity in Kevadia on his 144th birth anniversary. The day is celebrated as Rashtriya Ekta Divas. Later, he administered the unity pledge to the hundreds of government personnel gathered there. Earlier Modi tweeted: "Tributes to the great Sardar Patel on his Jayanti. His contribution to our nation is monumental."
Reading from the oath, PM Modi said, "I take this oath for the unity of my country which was made possible by Sardar Patel's vision and work. I make a solemn promise to contribute to the internal security of my country." "Unity in diversity is India's identity," said the Prime Minister while addressing the audience.
PM Modi also took to his Twitter handle and tweeted a video stating, "He was the stalwart who unified India. A leader of farmers, a great administrator and uncompromising when it came to safeguarding rights of the poor, India will always remember Sardar Patel's unparalleled contribution. Paid tributes to him at the 'Statue of Unity. Since 2014, October 31 is observed as the National Unity Day and people participate in the 'Run For Unity'. Ekta Diwas parade was also organised to honour the Iron Man of India during which Prime Minister administered the oath of unity to police personnel, artists and school children among others.
Dedicates abrogation of Article 370 to Sardar Patel
During his speech, the prime minister slammed Pakistan and dedicated the decision of revoking Article 370 to Patel. He said, "Today, on National Integration Day, I am reminding every citizen of this challenge that is present in front of the country. Those who cannot win in a war with us, they are challenging the unity of ours," Modi said in an apparent reference to Pakistan. "However, they forget that despite centuries of similar efforts, no one could erase us, could not defeat our unity," the Prime Minister said while addressing the nation on the 144th birth anniversary of the first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
He further added, "With the blessings of Sardar Saheb, the country has taken a very big decision to defeat these forces a few weeks ago. Article 370 gave nothing except separatism and terrorism to Jammu and Kashmir," Modi added while lauding Iron Man of India.
The Prime Minister Modi-led BJP government on August 5 had announced abrogation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir and further announced bifurcation of the state paving way for two new Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Lauding Sardar Patel's efforts to unify India, Modi dedicated the "big decision" to Sardar Patel, who he claimed would not have taken so long to resolve the Kashmir issue, if he was allowed to tackle it.
"Sardar Patel had once said that if the issue of Kashmir had remained with him, it would not have taken so long to resolve it. On his birth anniversary today, I dedicate the decision to remove Article 370, to Sardar Saheb," Modi said. "For decades, this Article 370 had created a temporary wall among us Indians. Our brothers and sisters who were on the other side of this temporary wall also lived in confusion. The wall which was increasing separatism and terrorism in Kashmir, now it has fallen," he added.