Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday exuded confidence that he would deliver the Independence Day address from the ramparts of the Red Fort in 2024 as well, triggering a war of words between the ruling BJP and the opposition parties. Prime Minister Modi’s statement that he will list India’s achievements and development from the Red Fort during next year’s Independence Day speech didn’t go down well with the opposition leaders since the next year’s Independence Day would fall well after the Lok Sabha polls, with Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge calling it the arrogance of the top BJP leader.
Addressing the nation on the 77th Independence Day, PM Modi said, “The next five years are for unprecedented development. The biggest golden moment to realise the dream of 2047 is the next five years. And next time, on the 15th of August, from this very Red Fort, I will present to you the achievements of the country, your capabilities, the progress made by you, the successes achieved with even greater self-confidence.”
“What he is saying is talk of arrogance. Now it is 2023 and to say that he will again unfurl the national flag in 2024 (at the Red Fort) is speaking out of ‘durankaar, ahankaar’ (arrogance),” the Congress chief told reporters when asked about the prime minister’s remarks.
“He (PM) also keeps on criticising the opposition and if he keeps doing so even on Independence Day, then what kind of India will he make,” he said.
“He (the PM) will again unfurl the flag, but at his own house,” Kharge said.
When RJD supremo Lalu Prasad was asked by some journalists whether PM Modi would be able to unfurl the tricolour next year, he said, “Nahin, na (no, not at all)”.
Pressed further, the RJD supremo said, “This is his last time”.
“We will come to power (in 2024),” the former Bihar CM told reporters.
Bihar BJP chief Samrat Choudhary said the prime minister has been hoisting the national flag at the Red Fort for the past 10 years and will continue to do so for the next 10 years.
“Lalu Yadav shouldn’t worry about it,” he said.
During the Independence Day speech, Prime Minister Modi didn’t miss the opportunity to target the opposition. Decrying corruption, nepotism and appeasement as the three evils that have harmed the country immensely, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it is a collective responsibility to promote “suchita (probity), pardarshita (transparency), nishpakshta (impartiality)” to make India developed.
“If the dreams have to be fulfilled… then it is the need of the hour to fight the three evils decisively at all levels. The three evils are corruption, nepotism and appeasement,” the prime minister said.
“That’s why my dear family members, we have to fight these three evils with all our might. Corruption, nepotism, appeasement, these challenges have suppressed the aspirations of the people of our country,” he said.
Congress leader Salman Khurshid hit out at PM Modi and said, “It’s a matter of great sadness if a leader or PM doesn’t know the difference between a national day and a political event…”
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) called it a “farewell speech”.
“I believe it was PM Modi’s farewell speech. Although, he tried to list out all the work that was done in the last 10 years, but there was nothing worth mentioning,” AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj said.
Bihar deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav said bringing politics into Independence Day speech is not befitting on this day.
“People had expected the PM to speak on employment opportunities, Startup India, Make in India, doubling farmers’ income…We heard him talking about fighting corruption…People are that seeing that democracy and constitution are in danger and there is inflation & unemployment,” he said.