India celebrated its 77th Independence Day on the 15th of August 2023, marking 76 years of freedom from the British Empire. This year’s Independence Day theme was "Nation First, Always First" a part of the "Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav" celebration initiated by the government in 2021.
This year's Independence Day comes after a near political turmoil in the country with the opposition moving a ‘no-confidence motion’ against the Prime Minister, vehement opposition to the bills (now, laws) passed in the parliament and ethnic riots and violence breaking out in Manipur and Haryana which have raised serious questions on the rights of minorities and women in India.
Nevertheless, the Independence Day celebrations were in full swing with PM Modi addressing the Nation from the Red Fort as a part of the Independence Day tradition. The Prime Minister, in his 90 minute speech, addressed various issues concerning the Nation, reflected on the work of his government, and talked about the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, etc. The Prime Minister speaking on the ongoing conflict in Manipur said, "I want to tell the people of Manipur that the country is with you” assuring the people of India that peace is slowly being restored in the state.
PM Modi in his last speech from the Red Fort before the 2024 general elections also criticized the opposition calling “corruption, dynastic politics, and appeasement” a hindrance to the country's development. The PM in his speech repeatedly mentioned his government's achievements and stated that he will deliver a speech next year (after winning the next general election) with a list of his achievements since he came to power.
Leader of opposition and congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge in his response to the PM’s statement said that PM Modi will hoist the flag next year at his home. Speaking about the PM’s claim over the office of PM Kharge said that everyone wishes to return to power but the final decision rests with the voters. He criticized the PM for bringing politics to the occasion and called out his overconfidence and arrogance “ahankar” on his 2024 bid.
With the 2024 general elections approaching soon the stage is now set for political contestation between BJP and the ‘INDIA’ alliance.
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