73rd Independence Day: From Red Fort, PM Modi strikes at Oppn over Article 370 with a question
PM Modi, who spoke about his government’s strategy to take problems head-on and handle them with unwavering conviction, turned to parties that opposed scrapping Article 370.Updated: Aug 15, 2019 10:18 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday showcased the scrapping of Articles 370 and 35-A from the Constitution as a key achievement of the NDA government that had been delivered in less than 70 days. The old arrangement, PM Modi said in his address to the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort, encouraged corruption and nepotism. “There was injustice when it came to rights of women, children, Dalits, tribal communities... The dreams of sanitation workers were unfulfilled. How could we accept such a situation,” PM Modi said in his first Independence Day address to the nation after the NDA government was voted back to power in national elections, his sixth.
“We do not believe in creating problems or prolonging them. In less than 70 days of the new Government versus the 70 years that it had lingered for, Article 370 has become history, and in both Houses of Parliament, two-third of the members supported this step,” PM Modi said on the move to end special status for J&K and carve two union territories out of the state.
In parliament and outside, however, there has been a group of political parties led by the Congress that has raised questions about the move, the breakneck speed at which the government pushed through the changes past parliament within a week and blamed the government for not taking the stakeholders on board.
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PM Modi, who spoke about his government’s strategy to take problems head-on and handle them with unwavering conviction, turned to parties that opposed scrapping Article 370.
Without naming the opposition or the Congress, PM Modi said the provisions had continued as a “temporary provision” for 70 years despite majority governments. It means they knew Article 370 “wasn’t good for the nation”, the Prime Minister reasoned.
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“If Article 370 was so important and life changing, why did you not make Article 370 permanent in 70 years when you had the majority. You could have removed the temporary status of Article 370 but did not,” PM Modi said.
“Everyone, wanted to get rid of this provision... but no one wanted to take the first step,” he said, attributing the reluctance of past governments to address the negative effects of Article 370 to “political reasons.”
The prime minister underscored that his government neither nurses problems nor keeps them pending. Previous governments made efforts in the past 70 years to deal with Kashmir, but it did not bear results, he said, adding “a new approach was needed”.
He said his government has dedicated itself on all fronts in the service of countrymen.
“The spirit of one nation, one constitution has become a reality now. And India is proud of it,” he said. He also referred to the introduction of GST, saying it has given life to the dream of one nation, one tax.
India has also achieved one nation, one power grid in the energy sector and arrangements have been made for one nation, one mobility card.
“Today, India is talking about one nation, one election. It is good that such a discussion is taking place,” he said referring to holding of simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and state assemblies.
PM Modi also condoled the death of people in recent floods and assured the affected of all help.
First Published: Aug 15, 2019 09:06 IST