New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday said that the biggest achievement of the past 75 years in the country was the continuously growing trust of the people in the Parliament.
An official spokesman in a statement to the Press Information Bureau (PIB) said that addressing the special session of the Parliament in Lok Sabha, the PM said, “In the 75 years, the biggest achievement has been the continuously growing trust of the common citizens in their Parliament.”
The special session is taking place from September 18 to 22, 2023.
Modi said that today was an occasion to recollect and reminisce the parliamentary journey of 75 years of India before the proceedings were shifted to the newly inaugurated building.
Speaking about the old parliament building, he said that the building served as the Imperial Legislative Council before India’s independence and was recognised as the Parliament of India post-independence.
The PM said that though the decision to construct this building was made by foreign rulers, it was the hard work, dedication, and money spent by Indians that went towards its development.
He said that in the journey of 75 years, this house had created the best of the conventions and traditions which had seen the contribution of all and witnessed by all.
“We might be shifting to the new building but this building will keep on inspiring the coming generations as it is a golden chapter of the journey of Indian democracy,” Modi said.
He noted the renewed confidence, achievement, and capabilities that were being infused in the first light of the Amrit Kaal, and how the world was discussing India’s and Indians' achievements.
“This is a result of the collective effort of our 75 years of parliamentary history,” the PM said.
Referring to the success of Chandrayaan 3, he said that it brings forth another dimension of India’s capabilities which is linked with modernity, science, technology and the prowess of our scientists, and the strength of 140 crore Indians.
Modi conveyed the compliments of the house and the nation to the scientists for their achievement.
He recalled how the house commended the nation's efforts at the time of the NAM summit in the past and thanked them for the acknowledgment of the success of G20 by the chair.
The PM said that the success of the G20 was of 140 crore Indians and not of any particular individual or party.
He underlined the success of more than 200 events in more than 60 places in India as a manifestation of the success of India’s diversity.
“India will always feel pride for the inclusion of the African Union in G20 during its presidency,” Modi said recalling the emotional moment of the inclusion.
Pointing out the negative tendencies of a few people to create doubt about the capabilities of India, he said that a consensus was achieved for the G20 Declaration and a roadmap for the future was created here.
Underlining that India’s G20 Presidency lasts till the final day of November, and the nation intends to utilise it to the fullest, the PM supported the Speaker’s resolution to conduct a P20 Summit (Parliamentary 20) under his chairmanship.
“It is a matter of pride for all that India has carved a place for itself as ‘Vishwa Mitra’ and the entire world is seeing a friend in India. The reasons for that are our ‘Sanskaars’ that we gathered from Vedas to Vivekanand. The Mantra of Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas is uniting us to bring the world with us,” he said.
Drawing an analogy to a family that shifts into a new home, Modi said that it was a very emotional moment to bid farewell to the Old Parliament building.
He reflected on the various moods that the house had witnessed in all these years and said that these memories were the preserved heritage of all the members of the house.
“Its glory also belongs to us,” the PM said.
He said that the nation had witnessed countless incidents related to the creation of ‘New India’ in the 75-year-old history of this parliament house and today was an opportunity to express respect for the people of India.
Modi recalled when, as the first-time MP, he came to the Parliament and paid his obeisance by bowing to the building.
He said that it was an emotional moment and he could not have imagined that but he said, “It is the power of the democracy of India that a poor child who used to earn livelihood on a railway station reached the Parliament. I never imagined that the nation would give me this much love, respect, and blessings.”
Quoting the Upanishad sentence inscribed on the gate of the Parliament, the PM said that the sages said to open the doors for the people and see how they attain their rights.
He said that the current and past members of the House were witnesses to the correctness of this assertion.
Modi highlighted the changing composition of the House with passage of the time as it grew more inclusive and representatives from all sections of society started coming to the House.
“Inclusive atmosphere has kept manifesting the aspirations of the people with full power,” he said.
The PM said that the contributions of women parliamentarians had helped in growing the dignity of the house.
Giving a rough estimation, he said that more than 7500 public representatives had served in both houses where the number of women representatives was approximately 600.
Modi said that Indrajit Gupta had served for almost 43 years in this house and Shafiqur Rahman served at the age of 93 years.
He also mentioned Chandrani Murmu who was elected to the House at the age of 25.
The PM said that there was a sense of family in the house despite arguments and sarcasm and called this a major quality of the house as bitterness never lingers.
He also remembered how, despite severe ailments, the members came to the house to perform their duties including during the difficult time of pandemic.
Recalling the skepticism during the initial years of the independence about the viability of the new nation, Modi said that it was the strength of the Parliament that all the doubts proved wrong.
Recalling the sittings of the Constituent Assembly for 2 years and 11 months in the same house and the adoption and promulgation of the constitution, he said that the house benefitted from the addresses of Presidents from Rajendra Prasad, Abdul Kalam, Ramnath Kovind, and Droupadi Murmu.
Referring from the times of Pandit Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri to Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh, the PM said that they had given a new direction to the nation under their leadership and today was an occasion to highlight their achievements.
He also touched upon Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Ram Manohar Lohia, Chandra Shekhar, Lal Krishna Advani, and others who have enriched the discussions in the House and emboldened the voice of the common citizens.
Modi also highlighted the address by various foreign leaders in the House saying that it brought to the fore their respect for India.
He also recalled moments of pain when the nation lost three Prime Ministers while still in office - Nehru, Shastri, and Indira Gandhi.
The PM also recalled the dexterous handling of the house by the speakers despite many challenges.
He said that they created reference points in their decisions.
Modi remembered that 17 Speakers including two women Mavlankar, Sumitra Mahajan, and Om Birla contributed in their own way, taking everyone along.
He also acknowledged the contribution of the staff of the Parliament.
Recalling the terrorist attack on the Parliament, the PM said that it was not an attack on the building but an attack on the mother of democracy itself.
“It was an attack on the soul of India,” he said.
Modi acknowledged the contributions of those who stood between the terrorists and the House to protect its members and paid tributes to them.
He also remembered the journalists who had dedicated their lives to reporting the proceedings of the Parliament, even without the use of the latest technology.
The PM said that bidding farewell to the old parliament would be an even tougher task for them as they had been connected with the establishment more than its members.
Throwing light on the ritual of Naad Brahma when a place turns to pilgrimage owing to the constant incantations in its vicinity, he said that the echoes of the 7500 representatives had turned the Parliament into a pilgrimage even if discussions cease here.
“Parliament is where Bhagat Singh and Battukeshwar Dutt had created panic among the British with their valour and courage,” Modi said.
He said that the echoes of ‘Stroke of Midnight’ by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru would continue to inspire every citizen of India.
The PM also recalled Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s famous speech and quoted, “Governments will come and go. Parties will be made and unmade. This country should survive, its democracy should survive.”
Recalling the first Council of Ministers, he remembered how Baba Saheb Ambedkar included best practices from all over the world.
Modi also mentioned the brilliant water policy made by Ambedkar in the Nehru Cabinet.
He also mentioned the emphasis of Ambedkar on industrialisation for the empowerment of Dalits and how Syama Prasad Mukherjee brought the first industrial policy as the first Industry Minister.
The PM said that it was in this house when Lal Bahadur Shastri emboldened the spirits of the Indian soldiers during the war of 1965.
He also touched upon the foundations of the Green Revolution which was laid down by Shastri.
Modi said that the war for Bangladesh’s independence was also a result of this house under the leadership of Indira Gandhi.
He also touched upon the attack on democracy during the emergency and the reemergence of the power of the people after the emergency was lifted.
The PM mentioned the formation of the Ministry of Rural Development under the leadership of former PM Charan Singh.
“The reduction of the voting age from 21 to 18 also took place in this house,” he said.
Modi recalled the nation adopting new economic policies and measures under the leadership of P V Narasimha Rao at a time when the country was reeling under economic distress.
He also spoke about Vajpayee’s ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’, the formation of the Tribal Affairs Ministry, and the advent of the nuclear age under his aegis.
The PM also touched upon the ‘cash for votes’ scam witnessed by the House.
Referring to clearing historic decisions that had been pending for decades, he touched upon Article 370, GST, OROP, and 10 percent reservation for the poor.
Modi said that this house was witness to the trust of the people and had been a center of that trust amidst the ups and downs of democracy.
He remembered times when the Vajpayee government fell by one vote.
The PM also underlined the emergence of parties from various regions as a point of attraction.
He also highlighted the creation of three new states during Vajpayee’s leadership including Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, and Jharkhand, and lamented the attempts to usurp power in the creation of Telangana. Modi also pointed out that there were no celebrations in either state as the bifurcation was carried out with malicious intent.
He remembered how the Constituent Assembly reduced its daily allowance and how the House eliminated the canteen subsidy for its members.
“Also, the members came forward to help the nation during the pandemic with their MPLAD funds and took a pay cut of 30 percent,” the PM said.
He also mentioned how the members imposed discipline on themselves by bringing changes to the Representation of the People Act.
Modi underlined that the present members of the House were extremely lucky as they get the opportunity to become a link of the past with the future as he mentioned bidding farewell to the Old Building.
“Today’s occasion is a moment of pride for the 7500 representatives who have derived inspiration from within the walls of the Parliament,” he said.
Concluding the address, the PM expressed confidence that the members would move to the new building with great zeal and enthusiasm and thanked the Speaker for allowing the opportunity to reminisce about the historical moments of the house in good light.