Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter on Monday to greet the Gujarati community on their New Year and pay tribute to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on her death anniversary as well India’s first home minister Sardar Vallavbhai Patel’s on his birth anniversary.
“Today, a day after Diwali, Gujaratis mark the start of a New Year. Saal Mubarak to Gujaratis across the world. May this be a joy filled year,” Modi tweeted.
Bestu Varas, the Gujarati New year, is the first day of the month of Kartik (Kartak sud Ekam). According to the Hindu lunar calendar, Kartik is the first month in the New Year while ‘Ekam’ refers to the first day.
Gandhi, India’s first female Prime Minister, was born on November 19, 1917, and was assassinated on October 31, 1984, by her bodyguards, few months after she ordered the Operation Blue Star in Amritsar to counter a raging Punjab insurgency in Punjab.
“Tributes to Mrs Indira Gandhi on her death anniversary,” Modi posted.
Gandhi was the second longest-serving Prime Minister after her father, late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. She held the Prime Minister's office from January 1966 to March 1977 and from January 14, 1980, till her death in 1984.
PM Modi also paid tribute to Patel on his 141st birth anniversary, a day that is celebrated as Rashtriya Ekta Diwas or National Unity Day. He was born on October 31, 1875, in Nadiad, a small village in Gujarat.
Patel, who was popularly known as the ‘Iron Man’ of India, was conferred with the highest civilian honour, Bharat Ratna, in 1991 for his services to the nation. He played a key role in the country’s struggle for independence and is known for successfully integrating hundreds of princely states with the Indian union.
“I bow to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his birth anniversary. We recall his rich contribution to India,” Modi tweeted.
“Paid floral tributes to the great Sardar Patel,” Modi wrote in another with a picture.
In his 25th Mann Ki Baat address on Diwali, Modi had urged the nation to promote unity and equality.
“Tomorrow we are celebrating Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s birth anniversary. He worked to bring everyone together, he worked for unity, fought for unity and brought unity amongst people and we all must remember it,” Modi said on Sunday.
“He gave us a united India and to keep it united is our responsibility,” Modi said in his monthly radio address.
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government has been celebrating Patel’s birth anniversary as Ekta Divas, marked by the Run for Unity to showcase the country’s solidarity.
The celebrations had earlier led to a spat between the Congress and the BJP over allegations of the ruling party’s attempts to appropriate India’s national icons.
The Congress accused the Modi government of trying to undermine the legacy of former PM Indira Gandhi, who was assassinated the same day in 1984. Till the BJP came to power at the Centre, the day was primarily observed as martyrdom day.