New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday flagged off a run to commemorate the 142nd birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in the national capital.

The ‘Run for Unity’, which began from the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, saw the participation of a large number of people, including sports personalities like Sardar Singh, Dipa Karmakar, Suresh Raina and Karnam Malleswari.

The 1.5km run in Delhi came to an end near the India Gate C-Hexagon-Shah Jahan Road radial. Earlier, President Ram Nath Kovind, vice president M Venkaiah Naidu, prime minister, and home minister Rajnath Singh visited Patel’s statue located at the Parliament street and offered floral tributes.

“We salute Sardar Patel on his Jayanti. His momentous service and monumental contribution to India can never be forgotten," Modi said while flagging off the run. The Prime Minister said everyone in the country is proud of Patel’s contribution to India before it attained freedom and during the early years after the nation became independent.

The central government observes 31 October all over the country as a day of special occasion to foster and reinforce the government’s dedication to preserve and strengthen unity, integrity and security of the nation by celebrating it as a ‘Rashtriya Ekta Diwas’ to commemorate the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel.

Several union ministers, senior officials and others also participated in the event. Hockey player Sardar Singh said ‘Run for Unity’ is a commendable initiative to showcase country’s unity and integrity. Gymnast Dipa Karmakar said she was proud to be part of the run, which is being organised to remember the contributions of Patel in unifying the country.