Sardar Patel Birth Anniversary: Rajnath Singh flags 'Run For Unity' in New Delhi
New Delhi, Oct 31: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has flagged off the Run for Unity from Delhi's Dhyanchand stadium as India pays tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on the occasion of his birth anniversary.
Nearly 12,000 people are said to be taking part in the marathon in New Delhi, including 3,000 school children, 300 ex-servicemen and a number of senior citizens, despite the thick haze that has engulfed the region.
Enthusiastic participants were seen taking part in the marathon, which is being organised as a mark of celebrating the 143rd birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
The NDA government has lined up a series of events to honour the 'Iron Man of India' starting with the unveiling of the 182-metre giant statue of Sardar Patel on the islet of Sadhu Bet in Gujarat's Narmada district.
The Statue of Unity will be dedicated to the nation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The imposing monument, touted as the world's tallest statue, is twice the height of Statue of Liberty.
The statue of Patel, fondly remembered as the Iron Man of India, is at a staggering height of 182 meters and was built at a cost of nearly Rs 3000 crores.
Prior to the commencement of the marathon, Rajnath Singh took a pledge along with the participants to follow the path laid out by Sardar Patel and maintain unity in the nation.
"Sardar Patel has and will always be seen as a symbol of unity," he added.
Apart from the Home Minister and the Sports Minister, ace gymnast Dipa Karmakar and weightlifter Karnam Malleswari were also present at the event.
In Odisha, Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan was seen participating in the marathon in Bhubaneswar, while Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman flagged off and participated in the 'Run For Unity' in Chennai.
October 31 is observed as National Unity Day or Rashtriya Ekta Diwas every year to coincide with the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel. The 'Run for Unity' for inaugurated last year by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.