On the occasion of India’s 73rd Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will deliver his sixth straight Independence Day speech from the ramparts of Red Fort at 7 am on Thursday. This will also be his first August 15 address after coming back to power with a huge mandate. National broadcaster Doordarshan will live stream the celebrations and the speech. The Indian Express will also run a live blog on the same.
The speech is likely to touch upon topics like the government’s decision to revoke special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 to the present economic crisis in the nation. Previously, PM Modi had used the annual event to announce several government programmes like ‘Swachh Bharat’, ‘Ayushman Bharat’, India’s first manned space mission, and also to present a report card on its performance to highlight how the country has grown on his watch.
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Modi often invokes India’s rich cultural heritage to rally support from citizens for government schemes — from cleanliness to ending female foeticide, and this time, water conservation — an issue Modi has prioritised for his second term. Some of his party leaders have noted that the prime minister’s speech often has a surprise element and this speech may not be different.
This will be Modi’s sixth straight Independence Day speech, a number equal to late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who gave six straight speeches between the years 1998-2003.
In 2014, he gave a call for ‘Swachh Bharat’ and appealed for shunning communalism and casteism to focus on development. He made a strong pro-poor and pro-farmer and pro-youth pitch the next year. In 2016, he created waves by mentioning Balochistan, a Pakistani region where Baloch nationalists have been fighting the government forces. He gave a call for embracing people of Kashmir in 2017.
With PTI inputs