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."
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)
Glad to see people from all over India join 'Run for Unity' with such vigour. Congrats to all. Sharing pictures http://t.co/zhzH9Rf4uV— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 15, 2013
'Run for Unity' is an effort of Rashtra Bhakti. It is being held with a determination to unite people, unite our villages & unite the nation— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 15, 2013
There is no bigger inspiration for the message of unity than Sardar Patel. He devoted his life in uniting India & integrating our people.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 15, 2013
Unity in diversity is India's strength. This is not merely on paper but it is our identity & our tradition http://t.co/zhzH9Rf4uV— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 15, 2013