- At the ceremony in Parliament’s central hall on Tuesday, the joint sitting was attended by President Ram Nath Kovind, vice president M. Venkaiah Naidu, Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla along with Modi
- The joint sitting saw attendance from all the top Cabinet ministers, senior leaders of the NDA and a number of other political parties
NEW DELHI : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said the Constitution is a sacred text which highlights the importance of balancing rights with duties. He was speaking at the joint sitting of Parliament to commemorate the 70th anniversary of adoption of the Constitution even as the Congress-led Opposition opted to boycott the proceedings.
At the ceremony in Parliament’s central hall on Tuesday, the joint sitting was attended by President Ram Nath Kovind, vice president M. Venkaiah Naidu, Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla along with Modi. The joint sitting saw attendance from all the top Cabinet ministers, senior leaders of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and a number of other political parties.
“We cannot secure our rights without fulfilling our duties. Both have a unifying relationship… Gandhiji used to say ‘right is a duty which is well performed’. When the whole world was talking about rights, Gandhiji took one step ahead and spoke about duties of a citizen. He also advocated for how in duties lies the protection of rights,” Modi said in his address.
“Our Constitution begins with we the people of India, we are its strength, inspiration and objective. Let us all come together to become good citizens,” he added. Modi also said that if he had to explain the Constitution in simple terms, he would say, “Dignity For Indian and Unity for India” as the key priority of the text.
The Congress along with key Opposition parties like the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Trinamool Congress (TMC), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (DMK), Left Parties as well as Shiv Sena boycotted the proceedings of the joint sitting over the developments in Maharashtra, alleging the Union government has attacked democracy and the Constitution through its actions.
Senior Opposition leaders, led by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, staged a protest in near the Ambedkar statue in the Parliament premises while the joint sitting was going on. To mark the day, Gandhi read the Preamble to the Constitution when the Opposition leaders assembled for protest demonstrations on Tuesday morning.
President Ram Nath Kovind said the people of India deserve to be complimented for the value and respect that the Indian Constitution has earned over the last 70 years.
“The ‘Constitution of India’ lies at the foundation of the world’s largest democracy. This is the supreme law in the country’s democratic framework and it continuously guides us in our endeavors. It was in 2015, the 125th birth anniversary year of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar that the Govt of India decided to celebrate Nov 26, as ‘Constitution Day’ every year. This is a commendable initiative to reiterate our gratitude to the chief architect of our Constitution,” he said while addressing the join sitting.
“The illustrious makers of our Constitution had with complete devotion and honesty, envisioned to serve and work conscientiously while remaining free from fear or favour, affection or ill-will and bias,” he said.
Addressing the joint sitting, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said that people have to make up their mind to serve the nation and make it the way they want to see it.
“It took almost three years to complete the task of drafting our Constitution. Today, transformation of the nation is the need of the hour. It is truly a paradigm shift where people are becoming active change agents and not passive recipients of benefits,” Naidu said in his address.
“If we discharge our duty with constitutional values, our country will move faster on the developmental front. We are at a path of change. It is absolutely necessary to defend fundamental rights. Nation-building cannot be on governments alone but citizens also play a critical role,” he added.