As India celebrated 70 years of independence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation at the Red Fort on Tuesday. In his fourth Independence Day speech, put forth the vision of a "New India" which is free of casteism, communalism, terrorism and corruption. However, the Opposition was not impressed with his words.
PTI reported that the Congress described Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Independence Day speech as "most disappointing" and said his promise of curbing black money "remains a sham".
“India is about peace, unity and goodwill. Casteism and communalism will not help us,” Modi said and kept his promise of delivering a relatively short speech and wrapped up various issues — ranging from farmers' issues, GST, demonetisation, terrorism and triple talaq — all in 56 minutes.
"His (Modi's) fight against black money was a sham and remains a sham," Congress leader Anand Sharma told reporters.
Sharma said the Modi government has "promoted black money hoarding" and promoted "crony capitalism".
Lashing out at the government, Sharma asked, "Why has this government not given an account of how much of black money is there in the money that has come back to the RBI vaults?"
He further pointed out that the prime minister tried to trivialise the Gorakhpur tragedy and equated it to other natural calamities.
Militancy in Kashmir was a major highlight of the speech. Modi reiterated that the Kashmir issue can be solved only through peaceful means while maintaining that militancy will not be treated leniently.
"A lot happens in Kashmir. A lot of claims have been made. A lot of people abuse each other. There are a lot of separatists. But there will be no leniency for terrorism. I have told many to become a part of democracy," said the prime minister.
To this, Congress spokesperson Salman Anees Soz said on Twitter, “If @PMOIndia is sincere about #Kashmir, listen to those concerned about RSS-BJP moves against Article 35A.”
— Salman Anees Soz (@SalmanSoz) August 15, 2017
On the contrary, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti welcomed Modi's Independence Day remarks on Kashmir. In a statement, Mufti said she has all along maintained that dialogue and peaceful means could alone resolve the issue as violence had only wrought more destruction in the state.
However, former chief minister Omar Abdullah said that Modi's speech was received well, but people were sceptical if any action would follow his words.
PM Modi's words for Kashmir have been very well received by people here but everyone here is weary of yet more talk & no concrete action.
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) August 15, 2017
Summing Modi's term till now, Kapil Sibal wrote in The Indian Express that India has " a PM who says more than what he means and does less than what he says."
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Aug 15, 2017 20:25 PM