Gujarat's year-long golden jubilee celebrations began in Ahmedabad on Saturday with Governor Dr Kamla Beniwal and Chief Minister Narendra Modi paying tributes to martyrs and leaders of the Mahagujarat movement that led to the formation of the state.
Large number of functions were organised on this occasion, marking the commencement of festivities.
Opposition Congress, however, boycotted official state government functions and organised its own programme to mark the occasion in Gandhinagar.
The celebrations kickstarted with Modi paying homage to men who sacrificed their lives for the formation of Gujarat at Lal Darwaza area in Ahmedabad. He along with Governor Dr Kamla then paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Sabarmati Ashram here and also felicitated the family members of the martyrs at the function held in Gandhi Ashram.
Modi later laid the foundation stone of a grand Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar where holy water and sand brought in from different parts of the country and the world, will be used for its construction.
"For so many years, Gandhinagar has been the capital of Gujarat but those visiting this city found it difficult to find any monument related to Gandhiji," he said, after laying the foundation stone of Mahatama Mandir in Ahmedabad.
"Why this has not happened in the past is a big question, but I believe perhaps God has chosen me to perform more good deeds," he said.
The Chief Minister said building Mahatma Mandir was a long cherished dream for him and the Mahatma mandir will connect the people not only from the country but from across the world.
Modi said that by building Mahatma Mandir, Gujarat was propagating national interest, which is above politics.
"I see a day, irrespective of who would be ruling in Delhi or Gujarat, people will be deliberating and discussing peace and non-violence at the Mahatama Mandir."
Modi said, Mahatma Mandir was not a building but an attempt to relive the life of the father of the nation.
Gandhi's life will be depicted in form of statutes at the Gandhi garden to be set up at the Mandir, and it will also act as a source of public awareness, Modi said.
Also, a huge Charkha -- the symbol of freedom movement -- would also be kept at the Mahatma Mandir and it will also depict the Dandi Salt March, he said.
Senior BJP leader L K Advani, who was also present during the various functions to celebrate the golden jubilee praised Modi and called him "imaginative and innovative."
Advani congratulated Modi for holding various golden jubilee programmes. He said, "these programmes did not seem like a government programme as large number of people participated in it."
Advani was impressed by the 'Jai Naadh' (victory bugle) function held in all the 18,000 villages of the state.
He said, "I was surprised when I was told that people had performed Jai Naadh in all the 18,000 villages of Gujarat."
Which means that it was not only the government, which was celebrating, it was the people of Gujarat which also celebrated it, Advani said.