This is PM Modi's sixth straight Independence Day address.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing the nation today on its 73rd Independence Day, said within a short span of 10 weeks, his government in its second term had taken major steps like ending special status to Jammu and Kashmir and passing legislation banning instant Triple Talaq.
"Those who back Article 370, the nation asks them, if it was so essential and life-changing, if you had conviction, then for 70 years, why did it remain temporary, why did they not use their large mandates to make it permanent," PM Modi said, apparently targeting the Congress, which had accused the government of blindsiding the opposition by introducing and passing its move in parliament swiftly.
Addressing the nation from the Red Fort after hoisting the national flag, the Prime Minister did not shy away from denouncing the political opposition to Article 370.
"Abrogating Article 370 is an important step in fulfilling Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel's dream for a united India," he said.
"We don't let problems like Article 370 fester. It is not the time to stall things. It is the time for action. What did not happen in 70 years, the new government did in 70 days."
Pointing out that the move was passed in parliament by a two-third majority, he said: "This means that it was on everyone's mind but no one wanted to take the initiative.""
Referring to the ban on Triple Talaq or instant divorce, PM Modi said: Our Muslim sisters and daughters used to live in fear. They felt shackled. Some went through the misery brought due to Triple Talaq, some didn't. Why could we not speak up earlier? Even Muslim countries got rid of it, but it continued in India. We must all now raise our voice against this social evil and stand by our Muslim sisters and daughters for their rights."
This is PM Modi's sixth straight Independence Day address and the first after he won a massive victory in the national election earlier this year.
Wearing a white kurta and his customary safaa, this time mustard, red and green, PM Modi spoke before a large gathering of ministers, diplomats and schoolchildren at the historic Mughal-built Red Fort.
"Many thought in 2014, will changing a government really bring the change I want to see in my country? We worked extremely hard in between 2014 and 2019, thinking only of our nation and our countrymen and worked tirelessly for them… And in 2019 we saw that there was belief, that people gave a mandate because they believed their country could change for the better," the Prime Minister said on his re-election.
PM Modi said his government would focus on a "Jal Jeevan mission" to ensure water for all. "It is unfortunate, however, that so many people lack access to water even 70 years after Independence," he said.
He began his speech with a reference to the devastation in several states because of floods.
This morning, PM Modi paid tribute at Mahatma Gandhi's memorial Rajghat and also greeted the nation.
"Happy Independence Day to all my fellow Indians. Jai Hind!" he tweeted from his official Twitter account.
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