Invoking Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi pitched for national integration, stressing that “unity, peace and harmony” is the first condition if India has to move forward and attain new heights of development. Flagging off the ‘Run For Unity’ in New Delhi on Saturday, the Prime Minister asked people to take ahead Sardar Patel’s message that our nation can sacrifice anything for its unity.
“Our strength is a nation bound together by unity and which can sacrifice everything for unity and this is the message of Sardar sahab,” he said flagging off the event on the 140th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
“Unity is our biggest strength… We have to move forward with the mantra of unity, peace and harmony,” the Prime Minister added.
Significantly, PM Modi’s remarks came in the backdrop of protests by several artistes, writers, historians and scientists over alleged “rising intolerance” after the Dadri lynching, beef row and other incidents.
“Irrespective of our language and attachment of our feelings and ideology to any inspiration or system from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and Atak to Cuttuck, if our goal is to take Mother India to new heights in the world, then the first condition for that is unity, peace and harmony”, he said.
The Prime Minister also announced that ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ scheme will soon be launched under which one state will choose another state each year and then promote its language and culture.
At the beginning of his speech, PM Modi also remembered former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on her death anniversary, saying she sacrificed her life on this day and it cannot be forgotten. Writing on his micro-blogging site Twitter, he said, “Tributes to former Prime Minister of India, Mrs Indira Gandhi on her death anniversary.”
Recalling Patel’s contribution, he said while the British were playing a divisive game, the country’s first Home Minister worked overtime for national integration by making the princely states accede to the Union of India. Patel worked to give us ‘Ek Bharat’ (One India), it was now our duty to turn it into ‘Shreshta’ (best) Bharat, Prime Minister Modi added.
Earlier, the Prime Minister also offered floral tributes at Sardar Patel statue on Parliament Street along with Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Union minister of Parliamentary Affairs Venkaiah Naidu.
(With inputs from the PTI)