2019 Lok Sabha polls once-in-a-century moment, says President Ram Nath Kovind

Emphasizing that an election is not just a political exercise, Kovind said it is a collective call to wisdom and a collective call to action.

Published: 26th January 2019 03:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th January 2019 10:22 AM   |  A+A-

Ram Nath Kovind

President Ram Nath Kovind (Photo | PIB)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: With the general election round the corner, President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday urged citizens to perform the “sacred act” of voting, stating that this year’s Lok Sabha polls should be seen as a “once-in-a-century moment” that will shape the India of the remainder of 21st century. 

The President said this will be the first time voters born in the 21st century will contribute to electing the new Lok Sabha. Emphasizing that an election is not just a political exercise, Kovind said it is a collective call to wisdom and a collective call to action. The “ideas and idealism of our democracy will come into force” to elect the 17th Lok Sabha, he said. 

In his customary address to the nation on the eve of the 70th Republic Day, the President said India’s pluralism is its greatest strength and the Indian model of pluralism rests on a tripod of diversity, democracy and development. 

“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. We cannot choose one above the other, we must have all three and we will have all three,” he said.

The President said the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi of all people living in perfect harmony are a constant reminder while building the nation. 

In what seemed a reference to the 10 per cent quota for economically weaker sections among the general category, he said “the recent constitutional amendment to provide special facilities for talented children from poorer families is another step to an India of our dreams, and of Gandhiji’s dreams”.

Kovind also advocated the need for engaging in conversation with groups that have been historically disadvantaged. He said the conception of India’s development cannot be complete without a salute to the spirit of inclusiveness, of access and opportunity for all, and of “an expansion and an embrace of those whom we consider our own”.

The best indicator of social change in India is change towards gender equity and towards providing equal opportunities, the President said. “Young women in our country are moving ahead in every field — from academics to the creative arts, from sports to the armed forces. There is no stopping and no hesitation in this process.” 

Gallantry awards to the forces:

Armed Forces conferred with 411 gallantry awards and distinguished services awards:

  • 4: Kirti Chakra.

  • 11: Shaurya Chakra.

  • 103: Sena Medal (Army).

  • 7: Nau Sena Medal (Navy).

  • 2: Vayu Sena Medal (IAF).

  • 28: Param Vishisht Seva Medal.

  • 51: Ati Vishisht Seva Medal.

  • 120: Vishisht Seva Medal.

  • 3: Uttam Yudh Seva Medal.

  • 9: Yudh Seva Medal.

  • Army chief General Bipin Rawat awarded Param Vishisht Seva Medal.

  • Kiri Chakra, second highest peacetime award, conferred upon Major Tushar Gauba from the 20th battalion of Jat Regiment and Sowar Vijay Kumar ((posthumously)) from 22 Rashtriya Rifles.

  • The two Vayu Sena Medals have been given to those involved in the rescue operations during the floods in Kerala and ‘Ockhi’ cyclone.

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