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Above: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a gathering on the Rashtriya Ekta Diwas – to mark the 142nd birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel – at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi. Photo: PIB

The Prime Minister flags of Run for Unity on the 142nd birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and alleges earlier governments tried to wipe out Patel’s legacy

On the occasion of the 142nd birth anniversary of India’s first home minister and deputy prime minister, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi eulogized the ‘Iron Man of India’ who, interestingly, had once censored the saffron party’s parent organisation – the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The commemoration of Patel, it is believed has been undertaken in a bid to woo Patidars ahead of upcoming Gujarat polls.

“There have been attempts to run down Sardar Patel, to ensure that his contribution is forgotten. But Sardar is Sardar, whether any government or any party recognises his contribution or not but the nation and the youth will not forget him,” Modi said while addressing the gathering on the Rashtriya Ekta Diwas – to mark the 142nd birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel – at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, home minister Rajnath Singh, minister of state for youth affairs and sports Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore flagging off the Run For Unity from the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium. Photo: PIB
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, home minister Rajnath Singh, minister of state for youth affairs and sports Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore flagging off the Run For Unity from the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium. Photo: PIB

Paying rich tributes to Sardar Patel, Modi said: “The British government wished that India was disintegrated into smaller states. But Patel used all means (saam, daam, dand, bhed, rajneeti, kutneeti) and succeeded in uniting all princely states into a single nation within a very small span of time.”

“Rajendra Babu must be happy now, wherever his soul may be, that we are remembering the contribution of Sardar Patel today even though some people tried to run down and erase his contribution. The nation will continue to remember Patel,” Modi declared.

Sardar Patel hailed from a humble agricultural land holding Patidar family from Gujarat, the home state of both, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah. The BJP currently faces its toughest poll battle in the past 22 years as Gujarat goes to polls next month and a major reason for this party’s troubles is the raging Patidar agitation in the state that is being led by Hardik Patel, who is threatening to align with the Congress to bring down the state’s saffron government.

—India Legal Bureau

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