For the third year in a row, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose to deliver his Independence Day address from an open air podium instead of from behind a bullet proof glass.
Overruling strong objections from his security detail, Modi had shunned the bullet-proof enclosure to “connect directly” with people during his maiden Independence Day speech as PM from the ramparts of the iconic Red Fort in 2014. He had decided to opt out of the enclosure last year as well.
After Indira Gandhi’s assassination, the bullet-proof glass had become a tradition and all Prime Ministers since then had addressed the nation from behind the glass.
The bullet-resistant enclosure first came up on Republic Day in 1985 when Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister. It became a permanent fixture until VP Singh opted for a half enclosure for the Independence Day in 1990. The screen was raised body-high again the next year for PM PV Narasimha Rao.
Attired in his trademark half-sleeves kurta and sporting a Rajasthani turban, Modi devoted bulk of his address on the occasion of the 70th Independence Day to presenting in effect a report card of his government’s work particularly in boosting economic growth, ease of doing business and welfare schemes for the poor and farmers.