Republic Day address: Get out and vote, says President Ram Nath Kovind

President Ram Nath Kovind addresses the Nation on the eve of the 70th Republic Day, in New Delhi on January 25, 2019.   | Photo Credit: PIB

President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday called upon citizens to perform the “sacred” act of voting, and described this year’s election as a “once-in-a-century moment” that will shape the future of India.

Addressing the nation on the eve of the 70th Republic day, the President said the “Indian model” rested on the tripod of diversity, democracy and development.

In an indirect reference to the 10% quota for the economically weaker sections, President Kovind mentioned that the recent Constitution amendment to provide special facilities for talented children from poorer families was another step towards achieving Mahatma Gandhi’s dreams.

The President advocated the need for having conversations with groups which had been historically disadvantaged.

Calling first-timers

He observed that people born in the 21st century would vote for the first time, and called the elections a “collective call to wisdom and collective action and not just a political exercise”.

“An election is a collective call to wisdom and a collective call to action. It represents a renewal and a recommitment to the goals and hopes of a shared and egalitarian society. It represents the diverse and yet singular urges of the people and the Republic of India. This makes the very act of voting a sacred act. Please perform this act,” Mr. Kovind said.

“Who the voter chooses to vote for is up to him or her, I would only request all eligible voters to go out and vote. Our country is at a key juncture. In some respects this is as critical and formative a period as the late 1940s and early 1950s. Decisions and actions of today will shape the India of the remainder of the 21st century. As such, this is not just a once-in-a-generation moment — it is a once-in-a-century moment,” he said.

Stressing the importance of an inclusive and pluralistic growth model, he said: “This country belongs to each of us and to all of us — every group and every community, every region and every identity. It belongs to every citizen and every individual. India’s pluralism is its greatest strength and its greatest example to the world.”

He said while physical infrastructure such as roads, ports, railways and metro services were all integrating India like never before, the best indicator of social change was society’s attitude towards gender equity and providing equal opportunities to women.

While the President noted the contribution of successive generations towards nation building, he reminded people that “our voyage is far from complete”. “There are still waters to cover, still gaps to fill and still tears to wipe. We have to recalibrate our yardstick of achievement and success — from quantity to quality; from a literate society to a knowledge society; from a nation that has room for all segments and all communities to a family that invokes, encourages and celebrates the uniqueness and potential in each person — each daughter and each son,” he said.

President Kovind reminded the nation that 2019 marked the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and it will be followed by the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution.

“In his [B.R. Ambedkar’s] honour and in our Constitution’s honour, the nation will celebrate Constitution Day this year in an appropriate manner,” he said.


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Printable version | Aug 3, 2021 7:09:07 AM |

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