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Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Jayanti: FM Nirmala Sitharaman wades through Chennai street during walkathon | WATCH

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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday waded through the waterlogged streets of Chennai as she took part in a walkathon in Shenoy Nagar of Chennai. The walkathon was organised by the Tamil Nadu unit of BJP to commemorate the 144th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on October 31 and 150th birth anniversary year of Mahatma Gandhi.

In the video posted by news agency ANI, Sitharaman is seen walking through the flooded street with the national flag of India accompanied by several local leaders carrying BJP flags. Tamil Nadu received heavy rainfall on Wednesday with the weatherman predicting more rains in the next 24 hours in several districts of the state. Flood warnings have also been issued and schools ordered shut.

Sitharaman’s participation in the walkathon is part of the BJP’s celebrations across the country to mark Sardar Patel’s birth anniversary. This morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to Vallabhai Patel at the Statue of Unity in Kevadia of Gujarat, while an Indian Air Force helicopter showered flower petals were on the world’s tallest statue. ‘Ekta parade’ was also organised near the statue in which personnel of the Gujarat Police, Jammu & Kashmir Police, Central Reserve Police Force and Border Security Force took part.

The PM also dedicated the decision to scrap Article 370 "at the feet" of Sardar Patel, and said, "Separatism and terrorism in Jammy and Kashmir happened only because of Article 370. In the last 3 decades, over 40,000 people got killed in the state and several mothers lost their sons due to terrorism."

Several other union ministers flagged off several other events across the country to commemorate the 144th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

Home Minister Amit Shah flagged off the ‘Run for Unity’ event in Delhi, along with Union ministers Hardeep Singh Puri, Kiren Rijiju, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, R K Singh, G Kishan Reddy, Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal and Union Home Secretary Ajay K Bhalla; while Union Ministers Smriti Irani and Dharmendra Pradhan participated in the same in Amethi and Bhubaneswar respectively.

The ‘Iron Man of India’, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s birth anniversary on October 31, is celebrated as National Unity Day (Rashtriya Ekta Diwas) since 2014 and ‘Run for Unity’ is organised across the country as a symbol of unity, to put across Patel’s dream of ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshth Bharat’.