With his critics and political detractors trying to corner him on account of rising incidents of intolerance in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stressed on freedom of religion and underlined that ““India first” was the government’s only religion and the Constitution was its scripture
Mr Modi, however, did not directly mention the intolerance issue during his speech in Parliament on November 27. Ruling out any review of the constitution and reaching out to a combative opposition, Mr Modi said: “The ruling side does not believe in forcing decisions using its majority but in working through consensus.” He also praised India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru for his greatness in accepting a point made by an opponent during a parliament debate. Congratulating Sonia Gandhi, the leader of the opposition Congress party, Mr Modi appreciated her speech on the constitution.
In his address to the Parliament, Mr Modi spoke about diversity being India’s strength and said it needed to be nurtured. “For the government, the only ‘dharma’ is ‘India first, the only ‘dharma granth’ (holy book) is the Constitution,” Mr Modi said. Stressing on the need for a healthy debate in Parliament Mr Modi added: “The spirit of discussion in the Lok Sabha is us and not me or you.”
The discussion on commitment to the constitution featured as a part of 125th birth anniversary celebrations of Bhim Rao Ambedkar, the chief architect of the constitution of India. “26 November (Constitution Day) celebrations doesn’t reduce the importance of 26 January… Our constitution has dignity for Indian and unity for India,” Mr Modi said in his speech.
Taking a step forward to improve relations between the government and the opposition, Mr Modi indicated that the concerns of the opposition would be addressed and stated that the government is ready for debates but all parties must work for the nation.
The previous monsoon session of Parliament was a complete washout with the session ending in a gridlock.
Here are the excerpts from his speech:
- BR Amdekar’s greatness lies in the fact that the constitution has no retribution or bitterness for the discrimination he faced as a Dalit.
- Dignity for Indians and unity for India… this is what our Constitution is about
- The need of the hour is to make people aware of the strength of the Constitution
- The spirit of this discussion is ‘us’ not ‘me’ or ‘you’
- Some people have this wrong idea, maybe out of habit, that PM will respond to everything in the end
- But I am speaking now, expressing my views, just as any other person here did
- A nation like India is diverse, and the Constitution has the power to bind us all
- We need to consistently educate people about the strengths and importance of the constitution
- We are very proud of those who have given their lives for the freedom of our nation
- The bitterness today reminds how our great leaders worked together to make the constitution
- It’s a challenge for us politicians that people curse us but the same politicians have put restrictions on themselves
- It is important to strengthen rights and it is as important to strengthen duties
- 800 million youngsters…what can be better than that. We have to create opportunities for them
- Our focus must be on how our Constitution can help the Dalits, the marginalised and the poor
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