‘Party for family, party for family’ threat to democracy: Modi

Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, 26 November

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday called for a national awakening against family-based political parties, calling organizations controlled and run by families a threat to Indian democracy.

In wide remarks on the occasion of Constitution Day celebrations in the Central Hall of Parliament, the Prime Minister called the trend of public felicitations of politicians convicted of corruption as a matter of grave concern, asking whether this was the society we wanted our youth for.

He also questioned the previous governments for not placing enough emphasis on constitutional duties and said that if the path of duties had been emphasized after independence, the rights of the people would have been protected naturally.

But the PM’s most direct attack was on the politics of dynasty.

“India is a democratic nation. Parties have their own special importance and are a tool to take the principles of the Constitution to the people. But can those parties which have lost their democratic character protect Indian democracy? Today, India is moving towards danger from Kashmir. To Kanyakumari. Political party for family, threat to democracy by family,” the PM said in a veiled attack on Congress and other family-run parties.

Distinguishing between families sending more than one person to politics on merit and parties controlled by the same family for generations, the PM said there is a need for a national awakening to this menace.

“Family parties are a threat to our democratic character. They are contrary to what the Constitution teaches us. I am not saying that more than one person from a party cannot enter politics on the basis of merit, but a party runs. Democracy controlled by one family for generations is a threat to democracy. We need national awareness for this,” the prime minister said, citing an example from Japan, where a similar movement against dynastic politics being successful.

After this the PM questioned those who bring the culprits of corruption.

“Does the Constitution give a license to corruption? It is a matter of concern that once someone is convicted of corruption by the courts, there is a competition to publicly bring and honor such people for political purposes. What effect does the trend give to the youth? No they think it is normal to be corrupt because after few years society will accept you? Such people should be given opportunities for improvement but the competition to honor them in public is worrying.

He also attacked the previous governments for “wasting” Mahatma Gandhi’s legacy on national duties and said that had the emphasis on duties since independence, the rights of the people would have been normally protected.

“Mahatma Gandhi during his lifetime emphasized on duties through cleanliness, women empowerment. The seeds he sowed after independence should have grown into a flourishing tree, but the governance structures that took root, he Emphasis only on rights. It would have been better if duties were performed after independence. It would have been emphasized. Thus rights would have been automatically protected,” the PM said, adding that fulfillment of duties would build a united society. And every time someone does his duty, someone else’s right is protected.

The Prime Minister called for moving towards the path where citizens want to realize their rights through the performance of their duties.

On this occasion, the PM along with 13 parties including Congress boycotted the program of Constitution Day, taking a jibe at the opposition.

“I wonder if we could have even written a page if we were tasked with drafting the Constitution in the present day, when politics often dominated national interests. On the other hand, the founders of the Indian Constitution had a national Interest was at the forefront of his mind and set aside individual differences to give us the Constitution,” Modi said with thunderous applause.

He said the Constitution Day program in Parliament was not a BJP or government function.

“It hails the memory of Dr BR Ambedkar and other founders of the Constitution and is organized by the Presiding Officers of both the Houses. Their chairs have a dignity, which should be respected by all,” the PM said. Similarly, the opposition had boycotted Dr Ambedkar’s speech in Parliament on the occasion of his 150th anniversary.

The PM also asked the previous governments why they never thought of celebrating Constitution Day as a marker of assessment whether the governance was going in the right direction.

“These people asked why the NDA government decided to celebrate Constitution Day. What was the need for this? It is surprising that when we applaud a program dedicated to the memory of Dr. Ambedkar, such thoughts pop into one’s mind. Come too. The country will not accept it,” the PM said.

President Ram Nath Kovind also addressed the program and called upon the MPs to perform their duties as expected under the Constitution.

The President later led the joint reading of the Preamble.