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Dec 15, 2013 at 11:16am IST

Modi flags off 'Run for Unity', says Sardar Patel tried to unite India

Vadodara: Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi flagged off 'Run for Unity' marathon in Vadodara to mark the death anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The event is organised in a bid to collect scrap iron to build Sardar Patel's 182-metre statue in the middle of Narmada river, which is scheduled to be completed before January 26, 2014.

Remembering Sardar Patel, Modi said: "Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel spent his lifetime uniting the country. When we remember Sardar Patel, it reminds us of his teachings on unity, Swarajya and farmers."

ALSO SEE Modi's 'Run for Unity' marathon to collect iron for Sardar Patel's statue

He added, "This is an effort to fulfill the dreams and aspirations of Indians."

Meanwhile, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and senior BJP leader LK Advani also inaugurated the marthon at different locations.

Around 50 lakh people are expected to run a marathon in over 1,000 locations across the country.

Vadodara Police is planning to deploy an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to keep an eye on the 'Run for Unity' marathon. "The 5-km route of marathon passes through various sensitive areas of the city. Therefore, we are planning to use UAV with a powerful camera that can capture the entire area from above and close-up from 200 metres," City Police Commissioner Satish Sharma said.

At least 2,500 policemen and home guards, apart from six companies of State Reserve Police have been called to provide security, he said.

Vadodara District Collector Vinod Rao said, "It will be a unique event and we expect more than 1.85 lakh people to participate in the marathon. This will be a record in itself."

About 30,000 online registrations have been received for this event by Vadodara Municipal Corporation.

All the arrangements have been made at the huge Navlakhi compound located in the middle of the city for parking 20,000 vehicles and 5,000 two wheelers, he said.

Around 565 districts across the country including Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Chandigarh and Pune are the major cities gearing up for the event on Sunday.

(With additional information from PTI)