New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday pitched for “Ek Bharat, Shresth Bharat” on the 140th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
Addressing the nation, the Prime Minister said, “unity, peace and harmony was the first condition for India to achieve new heights of development.”
"Unity is our biggest strength... We have to move forward with the mantra of unity, peace and harmony," he asserted at an event marking the 140th birth anniversary of Patel, against the backdrop of protests by artistes, writers and scientists over alleged "rising intolerance" after the Dadri lynching, beef row and other incidents.
Modi also used the occasion to take a dig at dynastic politics, saying it had become a bane of our politics and recalled that Patel never promoted any family member in political life.
"If the country has to move forward and attain new heights of development, then the first guarantee is.... Irrespective of our language and attachment of our feelings and ideology to any inspiration or system from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and Atak to Cuttack, 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.
"If 125 crore Indians with the mantra of unity, peace and harmony walk one step together shoulder to shoulder, then the country will move 125 crore steps in one go.
"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, recalling that Patel's life was dedicated to national unity.
Flagging off a ‘Run For Unity’ at Rajpath in Delhi, the Bharatiya Janata Party's top leader said the 'Ek Bharat, Shresth Bharat' programme which will be an effort by states to recognise and learn about other each other's culture and language.
Before flagging off the Run for Unity, the PM paid rich tributes to the 'Iron Man' of India and offered floral tributes to former prime minister Indira Gandhi on her death anniversary at Shakti Sthal.
Crediting Sardar Patel for the united India, PM Modi said, “After the great Chanakya, it was Sardar Patel who strung India together with unity."
The birth anniversary of Sardar Patel is being celebrated as 'Rashtriya Ekta Diwas' (National Unity Day).
He urged people to take inspiration from Patel's life and work for the country's unity and integrity.
The Prime Minister also administered a pledge to the thousands of people, which included school and college students, personnel of paramilitary forces, and people residing in and around here, gathered at the Rajpath.