Praising the efforts of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel for the country's unity, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Thursday said the BJP government at the centre has fulfilled his dream by fully integrating Jammu and Kashmir with the Union of India.
At an event organised in Panchkula on Sardar Patel's 144th birth anniversary, which is celebrated as the National Unity Day every year, he paid glowing tributes to the first home minister of India.
Mr Khattar, who took oath for a second term on Sunday, said Sardar Patel's contribution to integrate more than 560 princely states into the Indian Union was immense.
"For unity and integrity of this country, he did a great work. At the time of Independence, when the country was divided into more than 550 princely states, Sardar Patel integrated 562 states, setting an example which one will never come across anywhere else in the world.
"At that time, three states were left, but with his efforts Hyderabad and Junagad were also integrated," Mr Khattar told a gathering where school children were also present.
He then touched upon the withdrawal of Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
"It is a matter of great happiness that Jammu and Kashmir, which was not fully integrated with the Indian Union 70 years ago...but our Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah took the decision to scrap Article 370 and completed that remaining task. Sardar Patel's dream has been fulfilled," said Mr Khattar.
The state of Jammu and Kashmir transitioned into Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh on October 31, Mr Patel's birth anniversary. However, the Kashmir Valley has seen shutdowns and tension since announcement about the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5. Markets have remained shut and children stayed away from school for a large part of the period.