PM flags off 'Run for Unity' march
PM Narendra Modi flagged off the "Run for Unity' at Rajpath in New Delhi on the 140th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
Speaking on the occasion Modi said "unity, peace and harmony" was the first condition for India to move forward towards new heights of development.
He urged people to take inspiration from Patel's life and work for the country's unity and integrity.
Bio: About Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
Born on 31 Oct, 1875 in Gujarat, Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai Patel was one of the important freedom fighters of India.
A barrister by profession, Patel joined India's struggle for independence inspired by Gandhi.
He was a strong supporter of the non-cooperation movement and worked against alcoholism, untouchability and caste discrimination in Gujarat.
After independence, he became the first Home Minister and Deputy PM of India.
National Integration: Patel's role in national integration
As the first Home Minister, Patel took the charge of forging a united India.
He played a key role in integration of many princely states into the Indian federation.
Credited with persuading more than 500 princely states to accede to the Indian union post-Independence, Sardar Patel's commitment to national integration was total and uncompromising, earning him the sobriquet- the "Iron Man of India".
Fact: Patron saint of India's civil servants
Sardar Patel is affectionately remembered as the "Patron saint of India's civil servants" for playing an active role in the foundation of all India Services after independence and defining its features.
Oct 2013: Modi announces Statue of Unity in Gujarat
The Statue of Unity is an under construction monument dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
The 182 metres (597 feet) tall monument is planned to come up at Sadhu Bet, directly facing the Sardar Sarovar dam on the Narmada river, near Bharuch in Gujarat.
In Oct 2013, Modi the then CM of Gujarat, announced the construction of the monument, expected to cost about Rs.2500 crore.
10 Jul 2014: Government allots Rs.200 cr for Statue of Unity
In a step towards realizing PM Modi's dream project, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in his budget speech, proposed setting aside Rs.200 crore for the erection of the Statue of Unity.
The statue, touted to be the world's tallest structure when completed, would be double the height of the Statue of Liberty in America and five times taller than Christ the Redeemer in Brazil.
Fact: Rashtriya Ekta Diwas
In Oct 2014, the government decided to observe the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on October 31 as "Rashtriya Ekta Diwas" (National Unity Day) every year.
31 Oct 2015: PM flags off 'Run for Unity' march
31 Oct 2016: Modi pays tribute to Patel on birth-anniversary
PM Modi paid tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his birth anniversary, taking to Twitter to say, "I bow to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his birth anniversary. We recall his rich contribution to India."
He also remembered the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, whose death anniversary falls on the same day, tweeting "Tributes to Mrs. Indira Gandhi on her death anniversary."