NEW DELHI :
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday set the tone for the new political narrative of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s second term in office. In his over 90-minute speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the 73rd Independence Day, Modi said the people should come together to solve the challenges facing the country.
In his sixth I-Day speech, first since he returned to power in May, the Prime Minister spoke about the need for a nationwide debate on the issue of one nation-one poll, the abrogation of Article 370, and the passage of the triple talaq bill, and urged citizens to take a concerted effort to deal with the problem of population explosion in the country. “One nation-one poll is a discussion going on in the country. There should be democratic discussion in the country," Modi said.
Touching upon the contentious issue of population explosion, Modi said state governments and the Centre should work together to create awareness. He added that there is a section among the masses, which understands the need for smaller families, and such people should be promoted because they are doing national duty by consciously deciding to have smaller families.
“Population explosion will create many problems for us, but there is an aware section that understands this well; this self-motivated section limits its family size and contributes immensely to the well-being of the nation," the PM added.
Modi, who returned to power with a bigger mandate in 2019 compared to 2014, also said that while the first five years were about access to basic services, the next five years will be about taking care of people’s aspirations.
“It has not even been 10 weeks for the new government, but even in that duration a lot has been done," Modi said, listing three of his government’s key legislative successes in the recently concluded budget session of Parliament. This included the abrogation of Article 370, which provided special status to Jammu and Kashmir, the passage of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019, which seeks to ban instant triple talaq among Muslims, and two bills for tackling terror more effectively.
Modi also launched a scathing attack on the Congress, saying “work which was not done in 70 years", his government completed within 70 days of returning to power, while referring to the abrogation of Article 370.
“Those who speak in favour of 370, the country is asking them that if it was so important, and could change destiny, then why is it that for 70 years you did not give it permanent provision, but left it temporary. You also know what happened was not right, but you did not have the courage or intention to correct it," he added.
Modi also asked farmers to try and reduce the use of fertilizers and move towards organic farming. He said that there should be a deliberate attempt to produce things locally.
“This speech is the road map for the next five years. It is not just about politics, but talks about life philosophies. The problems being faced today, the crisis of modernity like use of fertilizers and moving towards organic farming is about cultural philosophy," said Badri Narayan, an Allahabad-based political analyst.
“The issues Modi raised on Thursday, including talking about Swadesi, are long-term vision of the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) and the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh)," Narayan added.