Modi flags off "Run for Unity" on Patel's birth anniversary

31 Oct 2017 | By Krunali Shah

PM Narendra Modi flagged off the "Run for Unity" at Delhi's Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel's 142nd birth anniversary.

Since 2014, centre and state governments are observing this day as Rashtriya Ekta Diwas to reinforce the necessity of preserving the nation's unity, integrity and security.

Sports personalities like Deepa Karmakar, Suresh Raina and Karnam Malleswari also participated in the event.

In context: Modi flags off Run for Unity

31 Oct 2017Modi flags off "Run for Unity" on Patel's birth anniversary

Sardar PatelModi: Patel's "momentous service to India can't be forgotten"

Modi expressed happiness that youth were actively participating in the run.

Taking a jibe at Congress, he said "though people tried to ensure that Sardar's contribution be sidelined, India's youth respects him and acknowledges his contribution in nation building."

Regarding 'unity in diversity,' Modi said till diversity is not respected, "it will only be a term and won't be of use in nation-building."

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CelebrationsHow is BJP celebrating Patel's birthday?

Earlier, President Ram Kovind, VP Venkaiah Naidu, PM Modi, and HM Rajnath Singh offered floral tributes at Patel Chowk.

Centre has directed state governments to organize state level functions.

Ministry of youth affairs and sports tied up with local administration in 623 districts to organize functions, while HRD ministry organized functions in Kendriya and Navodaya Vidyalayas.

Railways is organizing functions at 1,500 railway stations.

CongressMeanwhile, Congress leaders paid tributes to Indira Gandhi

Meanwhile, former PM Manmohan Singh, former president Pranab Mukherjee and Congress VP Rahul Gandhi paid tributes to former PM Indira Gandhi on her 33rd death anniversary.

Rahul also paid a tribute to Patel by tweeting "An embodiment of integrity & strength, Patel was one of the architects of Idea of India."

Former CM Sheila Dixit denied BJP's charge that Congress had ignored Patel's legacy.

Gujarati asmitaOn Sardar's birthday, BJP says Congress insulted Gujarati 'asmita'

In Gujarat, BJP launched a WhatsApp campaign accusing the Nehru-Gandhi family of "insulting" Congress stalwarts Sardar Patel and Morarji Desai.

It accuses the family of "insulting" Gujarati "asmita" (pride) by not giving Desai a memorial in Delhi and for stopping Patel from becoming India's first PM.

By evoking asmita, BJP is perhaps steering the narrative away from its economic failures as Gujarat elections approach.