India has empowered, strengthened democracy in last 70 years: PM Modi

PTI New Delhi | Updated on November 26, 2019

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi   -  PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that India had strengthened and empowered its democracy in the last 70 years. He was addressing a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament to mark the 70th anniversary of adopting the Constitution.

Addressing members of both Houses of Parliament in the Central Hall of Parliament House, he said that while November 26 is a happy occasion as India celebrates Constitution Day, it also reminds of the Mumbai terror attacks that took place on this day in 2008. “I pay tributes to those killed in the Mumbai terror attacks,” he said.

He said that the two mantras of the Indian Constitution are ‘dignity for Indians’ and ‘unity for India’.

“We cannot safeguard our rights without fulfilling our responsibilities,” PM Modi said, adding “Following traffic rules is an example of citizens carrying out their duties.”

PM Modi told lawmakers that they emphasise on duties in their interactions with people.

Celebrations boycotted

Opposition parties, led by the Congress, skipped a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament on Constitution Day to mark their protest against the BJP’s alleged high-handedness in Maharashtra.

Upset over political developments in the State, the opposition parties, including the DMK, the SP, NCP and the Left parties, boycotted Constitution Day celebrations in the Central Hall of Parliament and held a joint protest in front of the Ambedkar statue inside Parliament complex.

In a first, the Shiv Sena supported the Congress in the protest.

The protest was led by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and party leader Rahul Gandhi. Sonia Gandhi led the protesters in taking a pledge to uphold the Constitution. She read out the Preamble and resolved to stand by the fundamental values of the Constitution.

Among the leaders who joined in were DMK’s TR Baalu, Shiv Sena’s Arvind Sawant, TMC’s Saugata Roy and NCP’s Majeed Memon. The RJD and the IUML also participated in the protests.

“Bullies’ & ‘Blackmailer’ acting as unbridled rulers can’t subjugate Constitutional ethos,” Randeep Surjewala, Congress' Chief Spokesperson, said on Twitter. “We the people observe #ConstitutionDay every 26th November... Let’s resolve today - the soul of Constitution shall not be mortgaged to an autocratic govt blinded by insatiable lust for power,” he added.

Congratulating all Indians on Constitution Day, Rahul Gandhi echoed Sonia Gandhi in saying he resolved to save the fundamental values of the Constitution. “We salute the contributions made by the members of our Constituent Assembly. We are proud of our Constitution,” Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi.

Priyanka Gandhi also took to Twitter to say that people in power today are trying to disregard the values of the Constitution and weaken the people’s strength in democracy by expanding the role of money power. “To face this money and muscle power, it is important not only to bow our heads before our Constitution, but also pledge to stand by every value the Constitution enshrines. Jai Constitution, Jai Hind,” Priyanka Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi.

Published on November 26, 2019

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