Citizens must fulfil fundamental duties, says PM Modi on Constitution Day
The Constitution highlights both rights and duties of citizens and it is time to focus on responsibilities as well, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday on the 70th anniversary of its adoption.
The Prime Minister was speaking at a joint session of the Parliament on Constitution Day as the Congress and other opposition parties boycotted the event to protest political developments in Maharashtra.
“Rights and responsibilities go hand-in-hand. Mahatma Gandhi had explained this relationship well … Let us think about how we can fulfil the duties enshrined in our Constitution,” Modi said while speaking inside Parliament’s Central Hall, where the Constitution was adopted.
“Gandhi Ji said that we can only expect all rights when we perform our duties to perfection. Thus, according to the Father of the Nation, duties and rights were directly linked,” he said.
The Prime Minister paid his tributes to Bhim Rao Ambedkar and said if the architect of the Constitution had been alive he would be happy to see that India has strengthened and empowered its democracy in the last 70 years.
Modi said there had been an emphasis on people’s rights in the last many years as many felt deprived of equality and justice. The demand now, he said, is that the society should deliberate on its duties and responsibilities as well.
“We cannot preserve our rights without fulfilling our responsibilities,” he said during the session attended by President Ram Nath Kovind and vice-president M Venkaiah Naidu.
The country’s people are its strength, inspiration and aim as he noted and said that the Constitution begins with “We the people of India”.
The Constitution, which he said was an outstanding achievement of democracy, has been the guiding light for crores of Indians who ensured that democratic values are upheld.
“To put the Constitution in simple words, I will call it a document of ‘Dignity For Indian and Unity for India’. Our Constitution has given these two mantras. The dignity of the citizen has been kept supreme and the unity and integrity of entire India are intact,” the Prime Minister said.
Modi also paid his respects to those killed in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks in 2008.
Several opposition parties staged a protest outside Parliament as Modi addressed the joint session. They also boycotted President Kovind’s address later.
Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi and several other party leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, Ghulam Nabi Azad, AK Antony, boycotted the joint-session, protesting the “murder of democracy”.
The government observed ‘Constitution Day’ or ‘Samvidhan Diwas’ on Tuesday in the Central Hall of Parliament to mark the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution by the Constituent Assembly in 1949.