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NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday took a swipe at the Congress, without naming the party, by saying that previous governments had ignored Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s legacy of nation-building.
“Some people tried to ensure the contribution of Sardar Patel is forgotten,” PM Modi said at the ‘Run for Unity’ programme to mark the birth anniversary of the visionary leader.
In spite of these attempts to erase his legacy, the nation’s youth respected Sardar Patel for his contribution towards unifying the nation, the Prime Minister attested.
“We remember Sardar Patel on his birth anniversary. We are proud of his contribution to India before we attained freedom and during the early years after we became independent,” he said at the Dhyan Chand stadium in the national capital before flagging off the ‘Run for Unity’ event.
Popularly known as the Iron Man of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was a senior leader of the Indian National Congress who fought alongside Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru for India’s independence. After the country attained freedom in 1947, he was appointed as the first Home minister and deputy Prime Minister, playing a vital role in the integration of numerous princely states into the Dominion of India.
In the run-up to the Gujarat Assembly polls, the BJP has repeatedly underscored how the Congress, and by extension the Nehru-Gandhi family, has allegedly sidelined prominent Gujarati stalwarts like Sardar Patel.
The Modi government recently issued a notification that October 31, the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel, should be observed as Rashtriya Ekta Diwas (National Unity Day) to pay tribute to the statesman for his contribution towards preserving and strengthening the unity, integrity and security of the nation.