New Delhi, Aug 9 (IANS) As the nation observed the 75th anniversary of the ‘Quit India’ movement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday called for the creation of a “new India” free of corruption and poverty by 2022.
The next five years could be as important as the five years between 1942, when the ‘Quit India’ movement was launched, and 1947, when India got its Independence, the Prime Minister said, speaking in the Lok Sabha here.
“From 2017 to 2022, when India turns 75, we need to create the same spirit that existed from 1942 to 1947.”
In his nearly 40-minute speech, Modi recalled the role of Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Chandrashekhar Azad, Sukhdev, Jayaprakash Narayan and others.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who spoke after the Prime Minister, however, expressed fear that the very foundation of India democracy was threatened by divisive forces.
Without naming anyone, she said there were some organisations and people who did not participate in the ‘Quit India’ movement, and thus made no contribution to India’s Independence (from the British rule).
Modi urged people to take a pledge to end corruption, poverty, malnutrition and illiteracy, besides ensuring gender equality.
“We need to bring a positive change in this regard. Today, a similar call (like Mahatma Gandhi’s ‘Quit India’ call made in 1942) and determination are needed to weed out corruption from our country,” the Prime Minister said, adding a lot can be achieved with determination by a collective conscience.
Sonia Gandhi, in an apparent attack on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and its ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, expressed concern over “attacks on democracy by communal and repressive forces” in the country.
“At a time when we are celebrating 75 years of the ‘Quit India’ movement, there is a fear that dark powers are emerging again. Is not fear taking over the atmosphere of Independence? Are attempts not being made to destroy the foundation of democracy? Freedom of thought, freedom of self-expression, freedom of faith and equality, freedom of social justice based on a law abiding structure…” the Congress chief said.
“The ‘Quit India’ anniversary reminds us that we cannot and will not let the idea of India be a prisoner of a narrow, divisive, and conservative mindset. In the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, our freedom fighters fought for an inclusive, democratic, and just India. This was a thought which was established in our Constitution,” she said.
“The ‘Quit India’ movement reminds us that if we want to keep our Independence safe, we will have to fight all oppressive powers, howsoever strong they are,” she added.
“We must not forget that in those times, there were such organisations and people as well who opposed the ‘Quit India’ movement. These elements did not play any role in getting us Independence,” she said, which also led to objections from some treasury bench members.
The house later adopted a resolution for the creation of an inclusive and prosperous India of the dreams of freedom fighters by 2022, the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan read out the resolution: “Today, in the 75th year of the ‘Quit India’ movement, we pledge to form a powerful, prosperous, clean, glorious India which is corruption-free, has good administration, is advanced in science and technology, and committed to everyone’s development.”
The Lok Sabha was adjourned after members paid tributes to former Union Minister and BJP MP from Ajmer, Sanwar Lal Jat, who passed away on Wednesday morning.
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