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PM bats for anti-graft fight on ‘Quit India’ anniversary

NEW DELHI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday called for accelerated efforts to rid the country of corruption, poverty, illiteracy and malnutrition as parliamentarians expressed their resolve to work towards creating an India of the dreams of freedom fighters by 2022 to mark Independence’s 75th anniversary.

The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha held special discussions on Wednesday to mark the 75th anniversary of ‘Quit India’ movement and adopted resolutions to express people’s collective desire to make a strong, prosperous, clean and corruption-free country.

Opposition leaders, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi recalled the sacrifices of freedom fighters and also took digs at the government over its economic policies and ‘attacks on democracy’.

Participating in the special discussion in the Lok Sabha, Modi said that the five years from 1942 were ‘transformative’ in march towards freedom and urged MPs to rise above political differences and join in the common effort to create an India of the dreams of freedom fighters in the next five years.

“If in 1942 the clarion call was ‘do or die’, today the call should be ‘do and achieve’,” he said, adding that the coming five years should also be about a resolve which will lead us to accomplishment.

In the nearly 40-minute speech, Modi recalled the role played by Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Chandrashekhar Azad, Sukhdev, Jayaprakash Narayan and others.

“From 2017 to 2022, when India turns 75, we need to create the same spirit that existed from 1942 to 1947,” he said, urging people to take a pledge to end corruption, poverty, malnutrition and illiteracy besides ensuring gender equality.

Sonia, in her speech took swipes at the BJP and Modi government and expressed concern over ‘attacks on democracy’ by ‘communal and repressive forces’. She said attempts were being made to destroy the foundation of Indian democracy.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said the freedom fighters had given call for ‘Quit India’ and the country’s unity will be further strengthened with ‘Unite India’ movement from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. Initiating the Rajya Sabha, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said political parties should strive to restore the credibility in the public life that has eroded over the years.

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the leaders of freedom movement had emphasised on unity between different communities. CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said neo-liberal economic policies should ‘quit India’ as he noted 58.4 per cent of GDP was now in the hands of one per cent of the population. “Is this the India of the dreams of 1947 when we became independent?” he asked.

Agencies