SHIMLA---------Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, while paying floral tributes to first Union Home Minister of the country, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel at Secretariat Complex here today on his 144th birth anniversary celebrated throughout the country as 'Rashtriya Ekta Diwas' (National Unity Day), said that this day provides an opportunity to re-affirm the inherent strength and resilience of our nation to withstand the actual and potential threats to the unity, integrity and security of our country.
Jai Ram Thakur said that it was because of Sardar Patel that today India stands united as he did the almost impossible task of merging about 562 princely states after India attained freedom. He said that Sardar Patel also did the task of forging a united India by successfully integrating the newly independent nation. His commitment to national integration in the newly independent country was total and uncompromising, earning him the sobriquet "Iron Man of India", he added.
He said that as the first Union Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of India, Sardar Patel also organised relief efforts for refugees fleeing to Punjab and Delhi from Pakistan and worked relentlessly to restore peace.
Jai Ram Thakur said that as a mark of respect to the immense contributions made by the Sardar Patel towards the Nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has got built the highest statue of the world of Sardar Patel known as 'Statue of Unity' in Gujarat, which is 182 meter in height and has emerged as a biggest attraction for the tourists.
Chief Minister also administered 'National Unity Pledge' to the officers and employees of the State Secretariat on the occasion.
Education Minister Suresh Bhardwaj also spoke on the occasion.
Chief Secretary, Dr. Shrikant Baldi welcomed the Chief Minister and other dignitaries present in the event.
Mayor Shimla Municipal Corporation Kusum Sadret, Additional Chief Secretaries, Secretaries, Officers and officials of Himachal Pradesh Secretariat were also present.
Earlier, the Chief Minister paid floral tributes to former Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi at The Ridge Shimla on her 35th death anniversary.