Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid rich tributes to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on Friday, on the occasion of his birth anniversary, calling him the "architect of Modern India".
He flagged off the 'Run for Unity' in Delhi, joined by hundreds of citizens, especially students, who ran from Vijay Chowk to India Gate. Sportsmen Gautam Gambhir and Sushil Kumar also joined the run.
"Through his skill, vision and Rashtra Bhakti, Sardar Patel integrated the nation. We can never forget his contribution," Modi said on Friday, which the government has termed the Rashtriya Ekta Divas (National Day of Unity). The Modi government has also planned to build the Statue of Unity on Sardar Patel, which will be erected in four years and will be the tallest in the world.
"Our culture and legacy is of 'unity in diversity'. Let us rise over differences of creed, community, and language," Modi said. "Sardar Patel joined Mahatma Gandhi and integrated the farmers in the freedom struggle," he said.
Sardar Patel's life is a journey of deep-rooted courage, dedication & service to the Motherland. He is truly the architect of Modern India.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 31, 2014
Modi also invoked former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on the occasion of her death anniversary. Congress President Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi paid a tribute to Gandhi.