NEW DELHI: President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday urged people, particularly the youth, to remain non-violent when fighting for a cause and stressed on the need to "hold fast to constitutional methods" of achieving social and economic objectives. His remarks come in the backdrop of protests against the new citizenship law although he made no reference to them.
In his customary address to the nation on the eve of 71st Republic Day, Kovind cited Mahatma Gandhi's gift of 'Ahimsa' (non-violence) to the humanity and said that his talisman for deciding whether an act is right or wrong "applies to the functioning of our democracy".
He said modern India comprises three organs - Legislature, Executive and Judiciary - which are necessarily interlinked and interdependent.
Stressing that both the government and the opposition have "important roles to play", the president said, "While giving expression to their political ideas both must move forward in tandem to ensure that development of the country and welfare of its people are promoted consistently".
In his televised address, Kovind said Gandhi's ideals remain relevant in the nation-building efforts.
Recalling the importance of January 26, he said that even before 1947, this day was celebrated 'Purna Swaraj Day' (complete independence day) from 1930 to 1947.
Concluding his speech by quoting Babasaheb Ambedkar "If we wish to maintain democracy not merely in form, but also in fact, what must we do? The first thing in my judgment we must do is to hold fast to constitutional methods of achieving our social and economic objectives", the president said "these words have always lighted our path. These words will continue to show us the way ahead to new glories".
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