Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s second Independence Day address on Saturday came just two days after one of the least productive Parliament sessions came to an end, but the speech completely skipped the government-Opposition acrimony that resulted in massive disruptions and almost no work being done.
The omission couldn’t have been starker. Last year, in his maiden I-Day speech a day after a very productive budget session, Modi had referred to Vedic mantra to reflect his government’s intention to move ahead on the basis of strong consensus. He had expressed hope that all parties would work shoulder-to-shoulder to achieve unprecedented success in tackling legislative business.
A year later, the reality was vastly different with just two bills passed this monsoon session.
There were other notable omissions, too, in the 86-minute speech. Such as terrorism and the recent attacks on security forces in Punjab and Jammu — both linked to Pakistani terror groups.
Modi did not mention foreign affairs — another departure from last year when he had spoken at length about seeking cooperation from neighbouring Saarc countries to emerge as a global power.
Make in India, the PM’s pet project to turn India into a manufacturing hub, also did not find mention. Instead, Modi announced a ‘Start Up-Stand Up’ campaign to encourage young Indians to become entrepreneurs.
Last year, the PM had dwelt at length on empowering women and the girl child, referring to the declining child sex ratio. It was a notable miss this time around.