Chandigarh October 31: Haryana Chief Minister Mr Manohar Lal today described the Iron man of India Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as an icon of national unity who being the first Home Minister got 562 small and big Princely States merged in the Union of India thus laid the foundation of a strong nation.
Mr Manohar Lal was speaking as Chief Guest in Rastriya Ekta Diwas organized to commemorate the 139th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel at DAV College, Sector-10 here today.
Earlier, the Chief Minister flagged off Run for Unity drive organized to commemorate the occasion. Besides students, he himself took part in the run.
Speaking at his first public function after taking charge as Chief Minister of the State on October 26, Mr Manohar Lal said that today the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel is being observed throughout the Country. He said that last year he took part in a similar run organized on this Day at Panipat where he covered a distance of three kilometers. He asserted that since Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel is being reckoned as an icon of Unity in the history of the country, the Run for Unity should be organized every year so as to maintain unity and integrity of the country.
The Chief Minister said that last year on the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi, at that time being the Chief Minister of Gujarat has inaugurated the construction work of Statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (Statue of Unity) in Gujarat on October 31, 2013. This statue would be the tallest statue of world and would be completed in a period of five years at a cost of Rs 2500 crore.
Recalling the contribution of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in laying the strong foundation of a united nation, he said that during the time of independence, the country was divided into 562 small and big Princely States and to merge them in the Union of India was a big challenge. But with his concerted efforts, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel remained successful in getting merged 559 Princely States which was a big achievement. Out of the remaining, three Princely States which remained unmerged; he took the responsibility to merge two such States whereas the responsibility of the third one was assigned to first Prime Minister of India, Pt Jawaharlal Nehru. While, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel remained successful in persuading the Princely States of Junagarh and Hyderabad for the merger whereas the third Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir then had a Prime Minister and a separate flag of its own. He said that national leader Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee opposed the special status to Jammu and Kashmir having its own flag and Prime Minister. The same was later withdrawn and special autonomous status was granted to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370. The same system continues even today also, he added. He said that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was the first in the history of country who successfully got merged such large number of Princely States without any bloodshed. For this great contribution he has been described as ‘Loh Purush’.
While throwing light on the life of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Mr Manohar Lal said that he was born on October 31, 1875 at Nadiyad in Gujarat and became the first Home Minister of Independent India. Besides being a nationalist, he was a leader of grass root level who successfully led various movements and never distracted from his path.
Later, Mr Manohar Lal administered the pledge of unity to the assembled people. He urged the people to work untidily to uphold the unity and integrity of the country and played a constructive role to realize the dream of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel of a strong nation as this would be a tribute to him in a real manner.
President of BJP Unit of Chandigarh Mr Sanjay Tondon also spoke on this occasion.
UT Home Secretary Mr Anil Kumar, Principal of DAV College Dr B.C Josan, students, faculty members and other prominent personalities were also present on this occasion.