Hundreds of people from different walks of life in Kerala participated in the Run for Unity, a marathon organised across the nation to commemorate the 63 death anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

Olympian Beena Mol and Gurudharma Pracharana Sabha national secretary Swami Guru Prasad flagged off the run at the Martyrs’ Column here to mark the State-level inauguration of the event.

BJP State president V. Muraleedharan; spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi; and State secretaries C. Sivankutty and J.R. Padmakumar were among those who participated in the run which concluded at the Gandhi Park maidan here. Indian junior softball team captain Gayathri S. carried the Tricolour during the marathon. In other districts, personalities from the fields of arts, sports, and culture took part. In Kottayam, Government Chief Whip P.C. George flagged off the run while actor Suresh Gopi inaugurated the marathon in Kollam. The marathon was organised by the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust to mobilise public support for the construction of a 182-metre tall statue of the leader on the banks of the river Narmada in Gujarat.

‘Spontaneous response’

At a press meet on Sunday, Ms. Lekhi said the response to the marathon was spontaneous and went beyond party politics. She said the participation of Mr. George at the event in Kottayam proved that there was no politics involved in the programme. Ms. Lekhi said the ‘Statue of Unity’ being built in memory of Sardar Patel, the ‘Iron Man of India’, would stand as a symbol of the unity and integrity of the country.

His role in unifying the nation on the attainment of Independence had not been fully acknowledged. It was Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi who took the lead in correcting this and the efforts towards this were getting overwhelming support from all over the country, she said.