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New Delhi: While calling upon those in office to eliminate the trust deficit between them and the people, President Pranab Mukherjee, however, warned political parties against making promises it could not fulfil and said anarchy could not be a substitute for governance.
In his address to the Nation on the eve of Republic Day, the President said, “Those in office must eliminate the trust deficit between them and the people. Those in politics should understand that every election comes with a warning sign: perform, or perish. Fr us, the Democracy is not a gift, but the fundamental right of every citizen; for those in power democracy is a sacred trust. Those who violate this trust commit sacrilege against the nation.”
At the same time, the President warned political parties not to make promises it could not fulfil to people during elections.
“Elections do not give any person the licence to flirt with illusions. Those who seek the trust of voters must promise only what is possible. Government is not a charity shop. Populist anarchy cannot be a substitute for governance.
False promises lead to disillusionment, which gives birth to rage, and that rage has one legitimate target: those in power. This rage will abate only when governments deliver what they were elected to deliver: social and economic progress, not at a snail’s pace, but with the speed of a racehorse. The aspirational young Indian will not forgive a betrayal of her future.”
Describing India as a land of great promise, the President said the coming elections was a great opportunity for the people to restore that promise.
“The promise of India has sometimes been mislaid by misfortune; at other times by our own complacence and weakness. Destiny has given us another opportunity to recover what we have lost; we will have no one to blame but ourselves if we falter,” the President said.
He said that whichever party comes to power after the 2014 general elections should be committed to stability, honesty and development of the country.
“There will be a new government before I speak to you again on the eve of our Independence Day. Who wins the coming election is less important than the fact that whosoever wins must have an undiluted commitment to stability, honesty, and the development of India,”the President said.
Terming 2014 as a precipice moment in India’s history, he said,”we must re-discover that sense of national purpose and patriotism, which lifts the nation above and across the abyss; and back on to the road of prosperity. Give the young jobs and they will raise the villages and cities to 21st century standards. Give them a chance and you will marvel at the India they can create.”
While acknowledging that healthy differences of opinion were natural in a democracy, the President, however, said they must not lead to an unhealthy strife within our polity.
“A democratic nation is always involved in argument with itself. This is welcome, for we solve problems through discussion and consent, not force. But healthy differences of opinion must not lead to an unhealthy strife within our polity,”he said.
Describing corruption as a cancer that erodes democracy, the President said,”corruption is a cancer that erodes democracy, and weakens the foundations of our state. If Indians are enraged, it is because they are witnessing corruption and waste of national resources. If governments do not remove these flaws, voters will remove governments.”
On the demands for smaller states in the country, the President said while the debate on such issues was legitimate, it should confirm to democratic norms.
“Passions are rising over whether we should have smaller states to extend equitable development to all parts of a state. A debate is legitimate but it should conform to democratic norms. The politics of divide and rule has extracted a heavy price on our subcontinent. If we do not work together, nothing ever will work,”he said.
Acknowledging that factors of instability in India had grown in the recent past, the President, however, warned that forces seeking to destabilise the country’s integrity will never win. “We live in a turbulent part of the world where factors of instability have grown in the recent past. Communal forces and terrorists will still seek to destabilise the harmony of our people and the integrity of our state but they will never win.
Our security and armed forces, backed by the steel of popular support, have proved that they can crush an enemy within; with as much felicity as they guard our frontiers. Mavericks who question the integrity of our armed services are irresponsible and should find no place in public life,”the President said.
While admitting that the slowdown of the Indian economy was a cause of concern, the President, however, said there was no cause for despair. (UNI)