Congress President and Leader of the Opposition (Rajya Sabha) Shri Mallikarjun Kharge addressed the 77th Independence Day celebrations on August 15, 2023, at AICC Headquarters.
My dear friends, I wish and congratulate heartily all of you on the occasion of Independence Day.
Innumerable Indians sacrificed their lives during the national movement, in the fight for freedom. On this day, we bow down in reverence to their sacrifice and seek refuge in them. Our great forefathers like Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Maulana Azad, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Sarojini Naidu and Babasaheb Ambedkar made their invaluable contribution to the national movement. We pay tribute and our obeisance to them today.
These people played a prominent role in laying the strong foundation of India, due to which India emerged as a great power in the world. ‘Nation building’ is a continuous process and our freedom fighters, former Prime Ministers and the people of India made this ‘Dream’ a ‘Reality’ with their contribution.
Now-a-days, some people express that India has not progressed in the last few years (after independence). They are absolutely mistaken because as you all know, the British government had left India in tatters, so much so, that even needles were not produced here. At such a critical time, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru ji set up big industries here, got steel plants installed, got public sectors created and generated employment for the youth. He got major hydro-electric dams like Bhakra Nangal, Nargajun Sagar and Hirakud built as well. He got institutes like IIT, IIM, AIIMS, NID built. The foundation of Space Research, ISRO and Atomic Energy Research was laid. Not only this, Pandit Nehru also gave necessary encouragement to art, literature and music in the initial years of the government.
When there was a shortage of food grains in India, Lal Bahadur Shastri ji and Smt. Indira Gandhi ji made the country self-sufficient by bringing the ‘Green Revolution’. ‘The White Revolution’ made India the largest milk-producing country in the world.
Under the able leadership of Smt. Indira Gandhi, India changed the map of the world and she was instrumental in getting independence to Bangladesh.
Shri Rajiv Gandhi gave a new light to the future of Indian youth by giving technical, IT and Computer Revolution to India.
Assam Accord, Mizoram Accord, Shillong Accord and Punjab Accord were signed in the North-East, due to which peace was established in many parts of the country.
PV Narasimha Rao ji, along with Dr. Manmohan Singh ji, brought about ‘Economic Liberalization’ in 1991, through which they connected our country to the larger world and strengthened our economy.
It pains me to say that today, Democracy, Constitution and Institutions are under great threat. By suspending the MPs of the opposition in the Parliament, efforts are made to suppress their voice and today, people say that we make democracy strong and India is the most democratic country in the world and where 140 crore people are devoted to it, but in the Parliament, when I get up to talk on my own, my mic is turned off! This is going on with us. On one hand, we trumpet a lot about our democracy, while on the other hand, our mouths are shut.
‘Democracy’ and ‘Constitution’ are the ‘SOUL’ of our country. On this Independence Day, we take a pledge that we will uphold the freedom of Democracy and Constitution for the ‘Unity and Integrity’ of the country, for ‘Love and Brotherhood’, and for ‘Harmony’.
With this determination, I wish you all a very ‘Happy Independence Day’ once again and I conclude with this. Judega Bharat, Jeetega India! Jai Hind! Jai Bharat!