PM on National Unity Day: India's unity biggest challenge for enimes

Ahmedabad: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday paid tributes to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his 144th birth anniversary and said that a new chapter of progress and development was beginning in Jammu and Kashmir. "The game of government formation for personal benefits has come to an end as has discrimination on the basis of region. A true form of cooperative federalism will be seen. New highways, new schools, new colleges will take people of Jammu and Kashmir to new heights,” he added.

The Prime Minister who was in Kevadia, Gujarat, for the occasion was speaking at the Statue of Unity. He dedicated his government's decision to abrogate article 370 at the feet of  the Sardar's statue and said that it was like fulfilling a dream of the great leader who unified India. "Article 370 was like an invisible wall and had given nothing to the people of Kashmir except terrorism and separatism,” he added.

Prime Minister Modi pointed out that  in the entire country Article 370 existed only in Jammu and Kashmir and it only went on to confuse the people living therein. "This wall now stands demolished,” he added.

Modi pointed out that in the last three decades, more than 40,000 people had lost their lives. "However life will see a sea-change for the better. The recent block development council elections saw a very good turnout. Sarpanch voters came out in large numbers to cast their votes,” he added.

Referring to the progress in the North-Eastern part of the country, the prime minister said that separatist tendencies were giving way to a sense of assimilation and progress. Age old and long simmering problems are now being solved and the entire North-East  is, by en large, free of violence and blockades. "It is the inspiration of the Sardar that has us working diligently for the complete emotional, economic and constitutional integration of the country," he added.

While thanking the people for participating in the 'Run for Unity', he said that the world was amazed by the diversity within the country but for us it is our lifestyle imbibed  by us over ages and it is this lifestyle in which the Sardar had immense faith. Since 2014 , October 31 is observed as National Unity day and a 'run for unity' is organized all over the country.

The Prime Minister also interacted with 430 officer trainees of the 94th Civil Services foundation course. He described the course, 'Aarabh', as the first of its kind week-long, comprehensive foundation course as a nation-centric and a future-centric one. "This will ensure a paradigm shift in administration and see to it that administrators instead of working in silos, actually start working together. Even small changes are welcome. Earlier districts which lagged behind were termed as backward ones while now they are referred as aspirational districts. The change in nomenclature leads to a change in mind-set," he added.

Earlier, the Prime Minister arrived in Ahmedabad on Wednesday night and went to meet his mother Hiraba in Raysan village near the state capital Gandhinagar. He was received at the Ahmedabad airport by Governor Acharya Devvrat and chief minister Vijay Rupani, besides other  state officials.