Recalling the “black night” of Emergency imposed on this day 39 years back, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today asserted that democracy is the country’s strength and said this commitment needs to be taken further.
He said the “shining example of democratic powers of a common citizen” was seen during Emergency and “it should keep reminding the nation again and again.
Modi spoke about the Emergency imposed by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on this day in 1975 as he addressed the nation through his monthly radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’. “Sometimes some people mock at my ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme and even criticise it. This is possible because we are committed to democracy,” he said.
“.. today when I am talking to you on June 26, we should not forget that our strength is democracy, our strength is people’s strength and our strength is every citizen. We have to take this commitment further and strengthen it,” he added.
He said that the democracy, which empowers every citizen, had been suppressed on this day in 1975. “The morning of June 26, 1975, was such a black night when Emergency was imposed on the country. All rights of the citizens were taken away. The country was turned into a prison. Along with Jaiprakash Narain, lakhs of people and thousands of politicians were sent to jails,” he recalled.
The Prime Minister said it is the strength of the countrymen that they have lived this democracy. “When the newspaper offices are sealed and radio speaks only voice, people on the other hand make you realise the power of democratic forces. This is a big strength for any nation,” he said in apparent reference to the Emergency days.
He said there should be an attitude that people continue to realise their strengths. “I keep saying that democracy does not mean that you vote and give contract of five years for running the country. Voting is a crucial part of democracy, but there are several other aspects too. The biggest aspect is people’s participation — the pulse of the people, the thinking of the people. The more governments associate with the people, the more is the country strengthened,” he said.
“It is the gulf between the people and the governments which is the cause of our ailments. It has been my endeavour always to take the country forward through people’s participation,” he said.
Referring to completion of his government’s two years, the Prime Minister said some “modern-thinking youth” had thrown a “kind of challenge” asking him to get his government’s performance assessed by the people.
He said when he mentioned this to his senior colleagues, they said it should not be done as in this age technology can be misused and the survey can be taken anywhere. “They expressed concern. But I thought the risk should be taken. A try should be given. Let us see what happens,” Modi said, adding the survey was subsequently carried out on ‘Rate my government-MyGov.in’ in different languages.
Three lakh people gave answers to all the questions, he said, contending that the sample size is bigger than the ones in surveys carried out after elections. He said he will not go into the result of the survey as he left it to the media to do so.
“So, did you see? There was a day some years ago when the voice of the countrymen was muzzled on June 26 and there is a time when the people themselves decide whether the government is performing well or badly. This is the strength of democracy.”