It was a cold shoulder for the ‘Run for Unity’ from both the residents and administration of Vadodara from where Narendra Modi, as the CM had inaugurated the event with much fanfare, last year. While, the event scheduled at 7.45 in the morning began an hour late, the thin gathering at the Navlakhi ground looked disinterested. The flagging off ceremony was delayed as the BJP MLA Chhatrasinh Mori arrived late. The mayor Bharat Shah left the event early, the absence of most BJP leaders at the event was glaring.
It was reported that unlike previous year, there was hardly any promotional activity from the local administration for the run, this year. Only a few banners cropped up at some places in the city, hardly a couple of days before the event.
Ahmedabad: CM flags off the event
Chief Minister Anandiben Patel joined the ‘Run For Unity’ at Ahmedabad’s Sabarmati riverfront on Friday morning as she flagged off the event held on Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s birth anniversary. Patel alongwith senior BJP leader I K Jadeja and Ahmedabad mayor Meenaxi Patel walked for about a kilometre along the riverfront from the starting point till Vallabh Sadan.
During the flag off at around 7.30 in the morning, Anandiben Patel spoke about the need for making Gujarat clean, healthy and malnutrition-free. “A true tribute to Sardar Saheb would be to take a pledge towards making a united India, improvement in education, freedom from malnutrition and inclusive growth for all,” Patel said. She also administered a pledge for all the participants . A number of participants had gathered in the morning at the starting point on the riverfront behind Gujarat Sahitya Parishad on Ashram Road. Majority of the participants were government employees, officials and staff of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), residents from each ward invited by councillors, staff members of police department, including Rapid Action Force, various NGO and anganwadi workers.
Despite strict instructions from the education department, the local administration failed to gather the required numbers from schools and colleges. Due to ongoing Diwali and New Year vacations, there were very few students and teachers. However, as directed by the department, thousands of National Cadet Corps (NCC) members participated in the Run for Unity event. “The numbers could have been more if there were more participants from schools. There were hardly thousand students from municipal schools and nearly 2,000 from colleges,” revealed an AMC official. Apart from the depleted attendance, those who participated in the three-kilometre run, walked out of the venue after flagging off. The run was followed by cleanliness drives by mayor Meenaxi Patel, deputy mayor Bipin Sikka and a few councillors was conducted at Navrangpura and Usmanpura areas.
Bhuj: run organised Despite Nilofar threat
The Nilofar threat notwithstanding, authorities in Bhuj, the chief town of Kutch district, organised a Run for Unity from Varsani college to Lallan college Friday morning. Lallan college is the venue where Narendra Modi addressed on Independence Day as the CM last year. Several students participated in the run attended by principal secretary in charge of the district JP Gupta and the police officers.
Surat: participants get Modi t-shirts
Meanwhile in Surat, over hundreds of BJP leaders and workers, including municipal councillors, MLAs and MPs, participated in the Run for Unity at Udhna. Several participants, including BJP leaders, workers, municipal officials and councillors and teachers, gathered at near Gurudwara at Udhna main road, on Friday morning.
To make this event successful, the District Education Officer U N Rathod had given written instructions to different schools in Surat city asking them to take an active part in the event. In Surat too, students were not seen in the event, while only few teachers participated.
Surat Mayor Niranjan Zajmera, Municipal commissioner Milind Torwane and BJP MP from Surat C R Patil flagged off one-kilometre run. The participants were distributed white coloured T-shirts having Narendra Modi photos on both front and back sides. The participants ran for some distance and later they started walking to reach the destination near SMC Limbayat zone office.