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PM Modi vows to address nation from Red Fort next year; sets tone for 2024 election

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PM Modi vows to address nation from Red Fort next year; sets tone for 2024 election
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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday called for waging a war against the "three evils" of corruption, appeasement, and dynastic politics, increased OBC outreach with a mega-scheme, and exuded confidence he would return to address the nation from the Red Fort next year, setting the tone for his 2024 re-election campaign.

Showcasing his politics of “perform, reform and transform” as against the previous “politics of instability”, Modi, in his last Independence Day address from the ramparts of the Red Fort here before the next Lok Sabha polls, also spoke of a resurgent India globally on his watch, projecting the country’s rising global profile to emerge as ‘Vishwa-Mitra’ (universal friend).

The next five years are a period of unprecedented development and will prove to be a golden period in realising the dream of a developed India by 2047, he asserted, assuring people of “Modi ki guarantee” that the country will become the third largest economy in the next five years. Everything done in ‘Amrit Kaal’–the period until 2047, the centenary of India’s Independence–will have an impact on the next 1,000 years, he said in his address to mark the country’s 77th Independence Day.

In a major outreach to members of Other Backward Caste (OBC) communities ahead of the string of state assembly elections and the Lok Sabha polls, Modi announced a mega scheme, Vishwakarma Yojana, with an outlay of Rs 13,000 to Rs 15,000 crore, to boost livelihood opportunities for people engaged in traditional skills, including carpenters, masons and goldsmiths.

The scheme, mainly benefiting people belonging to the OBC category, will be launched on Vishwakarma Jayanti that falls on September 17.

With retail inflation soaring to 7.44 per cent, Modi also asserted that his government will be taking more measures to tackle price hike to minimise its burden on people.

Touching upon the volatile situation in Manipur, he said the situation in the northeast state, which has been hit by ethnic violence, was improving and asserted that solution to its problems can be found only through peace. “The nation is with Manipur,” he said at the outset of his 90-minute address.

Warning people against opposition parties without naming any, the prime minister strongly denounced corruption, dynastic politics and appeasement as the three evils that have harmed the country immensely, and said these perversions became such a part of the system over the decades that people began ignoring them.

“We have to look these evils in the eye and wage a war against them. We can’t tolerate corruption in any form to realise the dream of a developed nation.

“Like termites, corruption has completely hollowed out the systems of the country and its capabilities.” The prime minister asserted that it was important to fight corruption in every sector and it was his lifelong commitment to pursue this fight.

The dynastic parties worked with the mantra of “by the family, of the family and for the family”, Modi said, adding, it is a collective responsibility to promote “suchita (probity), pardarshita (transparency), nishpakshta (impartiality)” in every sphere of life and governance to make India developed by 2047.

Modi, who sported a multicoloured Rajasthani bandhani print turban with an off-white kurta and churidar, significantly during his speech, addressed the 140 crore Indian citizens at least 50 times as his “parivarjan’ (family members). He also wore a black V-neck jacket with a turban which was a mix of yellow, green and red colours with a long tail.

In the previous nine Independence Day speeches since 2014, Modi has referred to the countrymen either as “my beloved brothers and sisters” or “my dear fellow citizens.

Modi noted that people elected him to power in 2014 on his promise of change and voted for him again in 2019 as the promise turned into trust through his emphasis on “reform, perform and transform”.

“On the next August 15, I will speak to you from Red Fort with more self-confidence about the country’s achievements, the successes of your capabilities and the progress made in fulfilling your resolutions,” he said amid applause from members of the over 2,000-strong audience gathered at the Red Fort.

It is a “new India” brimming with self-confidence and dedicated to fulfilling its resolves, he added.

“Today we have demography, today we have democracy, today we have diversity, and this Triveni (three factors) has the potential to make every dream of India come true.” Multi-layer security arrangements were in place across Delhi with more than 10,000 personnel manning the area in and around the historic Red Fort.

Modi said ‘parivarvaad’ (dynastic politics) has also hollowed out and tightened its grip over the country, taking away the rights of the people, adding appeasement politics also has stained the all-inclusive character of the country.

“That’s why my dear family members, we have to fight these three evils with all our might. Corruption, dynastic politics, appeasement, these challenges have suppressed the aspirations of the people of our country.” Contrasting his over nine years at the helm with the dispensations before, Modi said people put an end to the era of uncertainty and instability and freed the country of political shackles by electing a stable, strong and full majority government in 2014.

A positive theme of India’s development strides and its rise in global stature under his nine years were among the highlights of Modi’s speech in which he projected himself as someone who has emerged from the masses and lives and dreams for them.

“My family members, I have come from amongst you. I live for you and if I dream, I dream for you. I work hard for you. I do not do it merely because you have given me the responsibility but I do so because you are my family. As a member of your family, I cannot tolerate your pain and cannot allow your dreams to be crushed,” he said.

“I have worked hard with pride and the spirit of the nation first.” Whatever India has achieved is the guarantee of global stability, he said, adding “As a new world order emerged after World War-2, I can clearly see a new world order, a new geopolitical equation is fast taking shape after COVID-19. I can see the strength of 140 crore Indians in shaping the changing world. You are at a decisive turning point.” Modi also said it is his dream to make two crore lakhpati didis in villages.

“When you go to a village, you will find ‘bank-wali didi, Anganwadi didi and dawai-wali (medicine) didi. It is my dream to make two crore lakhpati didis in villages.” Invoking ‘sone ki chidiya’ (golden bird) reference to India’s ancient past, he said the country’s 75 years of history since independence shows that it had no dearth of capability and it can still rise as a ‘sone ki chidiya’.

“It is my unbreakable faith that India will be developed by 2047 on the strength of its people,” he said, lauding the contributions of its youngsters in different fields, including start-ups, women and farmers.

Highlighting India’s ethos, Modi said the country does not stop, tire, falter or lose because this is the “new India” which is self-confident and determined to make its commitments meaningful.

“This is a government that works and surpasses set goals.” “Yeh Bharat na rukta hai, yeh Bharat na thakta hai, yeh Bharat na haanfta hai, aur na hi yeh Bharat haarta hai (India does not stop, India does not tire, India does not falter, and India does not lose).” Experts the world over are saying that India was now unstoppable, Modi said.

“Now, neither in our minds nor that of the world are any ifs and buts, a trust has been developed. Now, the ball is in our court. We should not let go of this opportunity.” Modi said his government in nine years has weeded out nine crore fake beneficiaries of different welfare schemes, and seizure of the assets of the corrupt has seen a 20-fold rise, he said, noting that those accused of corruption are finding it hard to get bail from courts.


With PTI inputs

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