New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday suspended his monthly ‘Mann ki Baat’ broadcast for March and April, and said he will be back with the programme on the last Sunday of May, by when results of the Lok Sabha elections are expected to be declared.
In this monthly address through the radio broadcast — the 53rd since Modi came to power in 2014 — he said he was doing so keeping in mind healthy democratic traditions.
“Elections are the biggest celebration of democracy. In the next two months, we will be busy in the hurly-burly of the general elections. I myself will also be a candidate. Respecting healthy democratic traditions, the next episode of ‘Mann Ki Baat’ will be broadcast on the last Sunday (May 26) of May,” Modi said.
Opposition parties have in the past demanded stopping the broadcast of Mann ki Baat during elections, saying it violated the model code of conduct as the interaction amounted to the misuse of the Prime Minister’s programme for political purposes.
The Prime Minister in his address asked people to rally together to take on the challenge of terrorism facing the country by forgetting barriers of casteism, communalism, regionalism and other differences so that steps against terror are firmer and decisive.
Modi said the Army has resolved to wipe out terrorists and their harbourers following the Pulwama attack, asserting that the martyrdom of 44 CRPF soldiers will keep “inspiring us relentlessly to uproot the very base of terrorism”.
In an apparent reference to the killing of Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists, who the Army said were masterminds of the Pulwama attack, in an encounter, he said “retributive action was accomplished” within 100 hours of the incident.
He also mentioned responses of families of deceased CRPF men and said the story of every family of martyrs is full of inspiration.
Paying tributes to security forces, Modi said he will dedicate the National War Memorial to them on Monday and added that not having such a memorial always pained and surprised him.
“I do believe that for our countrymen a visit to the National War Memorial will be akin to a pilgrimage to a holy place. The National Soldiers’ Memorial is a symbol of the nation’s gratitude to those men who made the supreme sacrifice after we gained Independence,” he said.
During the address, he paid tributes to tribal warrior Birsa Munda, who was arrested by the British forces on March 3 in 1900, pioneering industrialists Jamsetji Tata, whose birth anniversary falls on March 3, and former Prime Minister Morarji Desai, who was born on February 29.
Describing Desai as one of the most disciplined leaders, Modi noted that the first post-Emergency Government
headed by Desai had brought about 44th Constitutional Amendment, which restored powers of the Supreme Court and undid many excesses of the Emergency.
The amendment restored certain powers of the Supreme Court and declared that the fundamental rights granted under Article 20 and 21 of the Constitution could not be abrogated during the Emergency.
“For the first time, constitutional safeguards guaranteed that the President could only announce the Emergency upon the written recommendation of the Cabinet, and that the period of Emergency could not be extended more than six months at any stretch of time. In this way, Morarji Bhai ensured that the way democracy was assassinated in 1975 by imposition of Emergency could never be repeated again in the future,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister also referred to the humble origins of the latest group of Padma awardees. He said many people began enquiring about them after they were given the honour which shows that they worked selflessly on the ground while not making it to media headlines.
Modi discussed works of several of these awardees and noted that 12 of them were farmers.