New Delhi: Addressing the nation on the eve of 71st Republic Day, President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday said that youth of the country should remember the message of Mahatma Gandhi of peace and nonviolence. President also said that while the Constitution of India has given rights as citizens of a free democratic nation, but also placed the responsibility to always adhere to the central tenets of our democracy – justice, liberty, equality and fraternity.
“Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals remain relevant in our nation-building efforts. It should be part of our daily routine to introspect on Gandhiji’s message of truth and nonviolence, which has become all the more necessary in our times. When fighting for a cause, people, particularly the youth, should not forget the gift of Ahimsa Gandhiji gave to humanity. Gandhiji’s talisman for deciding whether an act is right or wrong also applies to the functioning of our democracy,” said Kovind.
In the course of his speech, Kovind had a key message for both government and opposition. He said the role of union government and opposition is of great importance in a democracy. He said that the union government and opposition should work together for the development of the country and welfare of the people. The message of Kovind comes just days ahead of the Budget Session Parliament where it is expected that the opposition parties would corner the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) over the ongoing protests in the country over implementation of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
“Government and opposition both have important roles to play. While giving expression to their political ideas, both must move forward in tandem to ensure that development of the country and welfare of its people are promoted consistently,” the President said.
Kovind further said in speech that following the ideals of Constitution would become easier if the people of the country keep in mind the life and values of the Father of our Nation which will add a meaningful dimension to the celebrations of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. During the speech, Kovind also quoted BR Ambedkar, the chief architect of Constitution, ““If we wish to maintain democracy not merely in form, but also in fact, what must we do? The first thing in my judgment we must do is to hold fast to constitutional methods of achieving our social and economic objectives,” added Kovind.
Praising the government for its welfare schemes, Kovind said that it was noteworthy that citizens have voluntarily turned these schemes into popular movements particularly health related schemes. “The Government has launched a number of welfare campaigns, and what is especially noteworthy about them is the fact that citizens have voluntarily turned them into popular movements. The ‘Swachchh Bharat Abhiyan’ has achieved astounding success in such a short time. The same spirit can be seen in other endeavours,” he said in his address to the nation televised on Saturday evening.
Kovind also emphasised how the union government was focusing its attention on overall development of the country and on strengthening internal security. “There is a consistent effort by the government to ensure overall development of each and every part of the country – be it Jammu-Kashmir and Ladakh, the states in the North-East or our Islands in the Indian Ocean,” Kovind said in his address. “Strong internal security is essential for the development of the country. Therefore, the government has taken several concrete steps to strengthen the internal security system,” he added.
In his address, Kovind also expressed hope over how the beginning of the new decade will mark the rise of New India propelled by its youth. “We are now in the third decade of the twenty-first century. This will be the decade of the rise of New India and a new generation of Indians. More and more of those born in this century are participating in the national discourse,” he added.
Speaking about members of armed forces, Kovind said: “I have nothing but unreserved praise for our armed forces, paramilitary and internal security forces. Their sacrifices to preserve the integrity and unity of our country present a saga of unparalleled courage and discipline.”