Nehru & Shastri to Indira, Rao & Atal, Modi hails former PMs

Times of India, September 19, 2023

NEW DELHI: In his speech in Lok Sabha, PM Narendra Modi lauded former prime ministers from Jawaharlal Nehru to Lal Bahadur Shastri, PV Narasimha Rao and Atal Bihari Vajpayee for their vision, and also mentioned Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Lal Krishna Advani for enriching the House.

Initiating the discussion on “Parliamentary Journey of 75 years starting from Samvidhan Sabha – Achievements, Experiences, Memories and Learnings” on the first day of the five-day special session, Modi said, “The echo of Pandit Nehru’s ‘At the Stroke of Midnight’ speech will keep inspiring all of us.”

Crediting Shastri for laying the foundation of Green Revolution in the country, Modi also said, “It was in this House where Shastri emboldened the spirit of Indian soldiers during the war of 1965.”

“This House also supported the liberation of Bangladesh under the leadership of Indira Gandhi,” the PM said but also touched upon the Emergency era. “Under Indira Gandhi, this House had supported the struggle for liberation of Bangladesh … This House was also witness to the attack on democracy during Emergency and the return of a robust democracy, demonstrating the people’s power.”

Without taking Rajiv’s name, Modi recalled the reduction of voting age from 21 to 18 years, which was done by amending the law during the tenure of the late former PM.

Modi referred to the new economic policies and measures under PV Narasimha Rao “at a time when the country was reeling under economic distress”.

Referring to Vajpayee, he quoted the first BJP PM’s famous words – “Governments will come and go. Parties will be made and unmade. This country should survive.” He spoke about the Vajpayee government’s ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’, formation of the tribal affairs ministry and 1998 Pokhran -II nuclear tests.

He reminded the House of the ‘cash-for-vote’ scam during the Manmohan Singh government. The PM also lamented the “bitterness” after Telangana was carved out of Andhra Pradesh during the second term of the Manmohan government and contrasted it with the celebrations after the formation of Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh in 2000 under the Vajpayee government.

Modi also mentioned formation of the ministry of rural development during the short tenure of Chaudhary Charan Singh as PM.

Referring to Sardar Patel, Ram Manohar Lohia, Chandrashekhar and L K Advani, the PM said many such leaders had helped enrich this House and strengthened the voice of ordinary people.

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