Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Sunday flagged off the ‘Run for Unity’ marathon in Vadodara where over 1 lakh persons gathered in citys Navlakhi ground,to mark the 63rd death anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
The massive marathon run,which was held across 1,000 venues,saw participation from over 40 lakh people,Modi said,even as he appealed that the event not be viewed with the prism of politics.
With this,the Gujarat government also expedites the programme to collect iron tools from farmers all across the country for Patels 182-metre Statue of Unity being constructed at Kevadia Colony in Narmada.
Sardar Saheb was Iron Man,and this imagery will be used to collect iron from 7 lakh villages across the country. Sardar Saheb was a farmer,so all farmers will be asked to contribute iron tools from their farming work that is now out of use. (Sardar) worked towards uniting the country. This work is being started today. By February,this work will be taken forward. Sardars mantra of unity will be again revived, he said. Throughout the speech,Modi refrain from making comments on any political parties,keeping the event apolitical.
This exercise is an effort to unite the people of the country. So please dont measure this pious effort with the yardstick of politics. This is a work of patriotism,to unite the country, he added.
Modi said the Statue of Unity will be a fitting tribute to the towering figure of unity in the country. Sardar sahib was the source,inspiration,and embodiment of unity. That is why,to make this Statue of Unity,we have taken the mission to join all seven lakh villages of India …When we remember Gandhiji,we remember truth,non-violence,sacrifice,simplicity,and Satyagraha. Similarly, Sardar Patel stands for unity,good governance and the farmer,” he said.
Speaking of the contribution of Sardar Patel,Modi said he dedicated his life to strengthen the unity of the country,but at the same time understood the value of diversity. Dont be mistaken. Indias diversity is the source of Indias strength. The diversity is not just our identity,but our tradition. There is no source of inspiration stronger than Sardar Saheb for the unity of this country, he said.
He said unity,good governance and public participation were factors which could take India among the league of worlds superpower. Over two lakh schools from across the country were approached to participate in the programme. An essay competition on the meaning of unity has been held across these schools,with over 5,500 winning schools being given over Rs 2.5 crore worth award,he said.