Photo: @mannkibaat/Twitter
Photo: @mannkibaat/Twitter

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was a lawyer, a freedom fighter, and eventually, India's first Deputy Prime Minister. He played a significant role in the Indian freedom movement, and in later years was key to the integration of the princely states into the Indian federation. Till date, many consider this to be one of his greatest accomplishments, dubbing him as the man who united India.

Patel is often referred to as the Iron Man of India for his uncompromising efforts towards national integration. He is also credited with helping to establish the all-India services system that is used till date.

With his health ailing for some time, Patel passed away on December 15, 1950 at Birla House in Mumbai. Mourned by thousands, his funeral was reportedly attended by around a million people. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had also declared a week of national mourning.

"I pay tribute to 'Iron Man' Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who laid the foundation of a strong and prosperous India, on his death anniversary. His path will always inspire us to protect the unity, integrity and sovereignty of the country," tweeted Prime Minister Modi on Tuesday.

In October 2018, Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the world's largest statue in his honour. The Statue of Unity, located in Gujarat's Kevadiya is a whopping 182 metres tall, and has seen hundreds of thousands of visitors since it was finished.

On Tuesday, Patel has once again become a talking point online, with many taking to social media to pay homage to the leader. The tributes span party lines and ideologies, with posts having been shared by Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari and Piyush Goyal, Chief Ministers Ashok Gehlot and Manohar Lal Khattar and many others.

Take a look:

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