New Delhi, Jun 30 : Fresh from a massive electoral victory in parliamentary polls that saw high turnout of voters especially women braving scorching heat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday counseled citizens to value democracy and warned against 'underestimating its importance'.
"When something is in close proximity of us, we tend to underestimate its importance; we ignore even amazing facts about it. We have been blessed with a Democracy so invaluable, yet we take it for granted so easily," Mr Modi said in his maiden Mann Ki Baat after the general elections wherein his party managed as many as 303 seats - a record in the last few decades.
"........we must keep reminding ourselves that our Democracy is gloriously great, it flows in our veins, through centuries of Sadhana (sincerity), dedicated practice, through the sanskar (culture), attributes that have been passed on from generations over, through a collective largeness of the heart," Mr Modi said.He made opportune use of the occasion to remind people of the Emergency slapped by Congress leader Indira Gandhi in 1975 and said - when Emergency rule was imposed - "Jan Jan ke dil mein ek akrosh tha. Khoe hue Loktantra ki ek tadap thi (There was a collective torment amongst people on the loss of democracy)".
"When Emergency was imposed on the country, resistance against it was not limited to the political arena or politicians; the movement was not curtailed to the confines of prison cells. There was an outrage in the conscience of one and all".Prime Minister's detailed reference to Emergency and to connect it to Indians' love for democratic values is crucial as in the run up to the just concluded Lok Sabha polls - in more ways than one, his government has been called 'authoritarian' and also slammed for discriminating against minorities.
But the BJP leaders, in contrast, had taken to social networking sites, addressed press conferences and written blogs in June-July 2018 lambasting the alleged "dictatorial traits" of the Congress party.The 1977 elections had brought in the first non-Congress government in power, Mr Modi said and pointed out that through the 2019 polls the country yet again "celebrated a mega festival of democracy".All sections of people from the rich to the poor, all were "happily eager in this festival to decide the fate of their country," Mr Modi said.
He said in order to ensure smooth conduct of the social order, a Constitution is definitely required and laws and rules are necessary, but in India those values came in an inherent manner as a legacy.The reference to Emergency by Prime Minister is obvious contemporary as June 25, the country passed through the 44th anniversary of Emergency.Prime Minister reminded the importance of voters power in the elections of 2019 and said - "If you exclude China, the number of people who voted in India exceeds the population of any other country in the world. The number of people who voted in the 2019 Lok Sabha election is more than the entire population of America, close to double the figure. The total number of voters in India exceeds the entire population of Europe".
He further said in the new Lok Sabha there are a record 78 women Members of Parliament."I congratulate the Election Commission and every person connected with the electioneering process and salute the aware voters of India," Mr Modi said.
On his Facebook post the then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, now ailing, had last year recalled that the Emergency was promulgated by Congress government to curtail opposition protests seeking Indira Gandhi’s resignation as prime minister after the Allahabad High Court ruled against her in an election malpractice suit.
Even lately Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah, also Union Home Minister, have flayed Congress for its 1975 decision and said this was done merely to meet the political agenda and save one individual's (Indira Gandhi's) power.