New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday said Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel realised the dream of a strong and united India with his farsightedness, despite attempts by anti-India forces to keep the country divided. He said that despite efforts over several years to erase the legacy of Sardar Patel, people of India remember him with gratitude for his huge contributions in making a united India.
Shah said this while flagging off a run to commemorate the 147th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, India’s first home minister, here. The ‘Run for Unity’, which began from the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in the capital city, saw the participation of a large number of people, including sports personalities, sports enthusiasts and personnel of central police forces.
“Even during that time, anti-India forces left no stone unturned to keep the country divided. We have seen how Sardar Patel brought Junagarh, Jammu and Kashmir, and Hyderabad under the fold of the Union of India through his farsightedness and political acumen,” Shah said.
Without Patel, a strong and united India would not have been possible, the home minister said.
Sardar Patel was instrumental in making the present-day India, and his contribution to realise the dream of India was immense, he said. Shah further said whenever people take Patel’s name, India’s map comes to their minds, and without Patel, the huge and strong India would not have come into existence. “The challenge at the time of Independence was to bring all princely states under the Union of India. Sardar Patel brought all of them under the fold of the Union of India,” he said.
The Union home minister said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India was marching ahead to become strong, self-reliant and prosperous. The country has achieved several milestones in the last eight years in this regard, he added. “By 2047, we will be able to make India as envisaged by Sardar Patel,” Shah said. He said under the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’, every citizen will take the pledge to make India one of the strongest and most prosperous in the world by 2047, when the country would celebrate its 100th years of Independence.
Shah began his speech by paying tributes to those who lost their lives in the bridge collapse in Gujarat. “There was an unfortunate incident in Gujarat yesterday (Sunday). I express my deep regret and convey my deepest condolences to the family of those who lost near and dear. I also pray for the eternal peace of the departed souls,” he said. Shah also administered a unity pledge to the participants of the run. The flagging off ceremony also saw the presence of Union ministers S Jaishankar, Meenakshi Lekhi and Nisith Pramanik, besides Delhi Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena and others. The central government has been observing October 31 as ‘Rashtriya Ekta Diwas’ or National Unity Day since 2014 to foster and reinforce its dedication to preserve and strengthen the unity, integrity and the security of the nation. Patel was born on October 31, 1875 at Nadiad in Gujarat. As India’s first home minister and deputy prime minister, Patel is credited for the merger of over 560 princely states into the Union of India. As part of the celebrations, various programs are organised across the country, recalling Sardar Patel’s contribution to the unification of India.