Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday said the spirit of the Constitution has been “steadfast” and “unshakable” even when there were efforts to bring it down. Addressing a joint session of Parliament on India’s 70th Constitution Day, he added the government has tried to move towards “one India” by making reforms within the ambit of the Constitution.
His comments were made as members of 12 Opposition parties boycotted the session and protested outside Parliament. Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh led the protest over the “murder of democracy” in Maharashtra and the “manhandling” of women MPs by security staff in the Lok Sabha.
“Glad that the spirit of the Constitution has been steadfast and unshakable. Even if there have been some such efforts to bring the Constitution down, the countrymen have failed,” PM Modi said. “The objective has been to move towards one India, the best of India. We have done all reforms within the ambit of the Constitution.”
“The conclusion is that for the progress of a large and diverse India, for a golden future, for a new India, we have only one path,” he added.
With Constitution Day falling on November 26, PM Modi paid tribute to those killed in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. “70 years ago, we officially accepted our Constitution. But this day pains us as well. It reminds us of the attack on India’s great traditional heritage in Mumbai. I pay my homage to the victims.” he said.
During his speech, PM Modi remembered Mahatma Gandhi and B R Ambedkar.
As India celebrates the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhi this year, PM Modi drew a parallel between rights and duties. “Every right is directly linked to your responsibility that you’ve performed well. This relationship and balance was well understood by the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi Ji had replied that we can only expect all rights when we perform our duties to perfection,” he said.
On Ambedkar, PM Modi said, “If Baba Saheb had been there today, no one would have been happier than him, because India has not only answered his questions over the years, but has also enriched and strengthened his freedom, democracy.”