Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Thursday said India would have been a superpower had Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel been the country's first prime minister.
The ''Iron Man'' had made huge contributions towards building a modern and unified India, he said.
"Sardar Patel has made immense contributions is agriculture, cooperation, security and administrative sectors," Mr Pradhan said.
"India would have been the superpower by now had Sardar Patel been the first prime minister," Mr Pradhan said on the sidelines of the ''Run for Unity'' event, organised in Bhubaneswar on the occasion of the veteran leader's 144th birth anniversary.
Hailing Prime Minister Narendra Modi for observing ''Patel Jayanti'' as ''Ekta Diwas'', he said, "The country had almost forgotten the contributions of the country's first home minister. His development model should be followed for the overall welfare of the nation."
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel is credited for merger of over 560 states into the Union of India. The Modi government has been observing his birth anniversary as ''Ekta Diwas'' since 2014.
Referring to the abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir, the Union minister said the BJP-led central government has corrected a "historic blunder".
"India corrected a historic blunder by abrogating Article 370 and 35A under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is only because of the willpower of PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah that integration of Kashmiris with the rest of India was made possible," Mr Pradhan said.
Earlier in the day, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik also remembered Sardar Patel and his "contributions to make India a powerful nation".
"Humble tribute to Iron Man of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on birth anniversary. His immense contribution to integrate India into powerful nation will always be remembered," Mr Patnaik tweeted.