On Vallabhbhai Patel’s death anniversary, tributes pour in for ‘India’s unifier’

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Several Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders and Union ministers paid homage to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his 71st death anniversary on Wednesday. Sardar Patel passed away in 1950 in Mumbai (then Bombay) on December 15.

“We will forever be grateful to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel for his exemplary contribution to unite India. His leadership helped the country overcome communal strife. Humble tributes to the great leader on his death anniversary,” Union minister Pralhad Joshi said on Twitter.

Housing minister Hardeep Puri called Sardar Patel “a leading stalwart of India’s freedom movement”.

“I pay homage to the iron willed architect & unifier of independent India, Bharat Ratna Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Ji on his death anniversary. The Iron Man was a leading stalwart of India’s freedom movement who later guided India’s integration into a modern nation,” Puri said in a tweet.

Popularly called as the ‘Iron Man of India’, Patel was a leader of the Congress party, a lawyer by profession and as the first home minister and deputy prime minister of India.

He is credited largely with the unification of the princely states in India after independence from the British.

“A stalwart of Independence Movement, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel played a pivotal role in scripting India’s destiny. As our 1st Dy PM & HM, he ensured that princely states joined the Union, fulfilling the dream of Ek Bharat, Shresth Bharat. Tributes to Patel ji on his punyatithi,” tweeted Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

Born in Nadiad, Gujarat on October 31, 1875, Patel finished his schooling in his native city in the year 1897, following which he decided to pursue a course in Law.

Patel was a prominent presence in all the protests and satyagrahas against the British, during which his association with Mahatma Gandhi began to grow. In his entire political career, Patel accepted the leadership and ways of Gandhi during the independence struggle.

His birthday on October 31 is celebrated as National Unity day or Ekta Diwas to honour his contributions in unifying India.

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