Modi reaches out to opposition in constitution debate

New Delhi, Nov 27 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the Indian constitution was a binding force in a diverse country and, sounding conciliatory, praised previous governments too for India’s development.

“The Indian constitution is a binding force in a diverse country,” Modi said while wrapping up a two-day debate to mark the 125th anniversary of Bhimrao Ambedkar, considered the chief architect of the constitution.

He described Ambedkar as one of the great people of the country who helped draft such a “perfect constitution” which, after so many years, still fits the bill.

“It ensures dignity for every individual and unity for the country,” he said. In today’s time, no law seems to be perfect, unlike the constitution which has stood the test of time for so long.

Looking at the opposition benches, Modi said the previous governments’ contribution in the country’s development cannot be denied.

“No one can say that the earlier governments have not done anything for this country. I am not saying this today. I have said this from the Red Fort.”

India, he said, was not made by ‘maharajas’ but by common people and all the governments since independence in 1947.

It was no easy task to draft a constitution like that of India, that too within three years, Modi said. It must have been “really challenging” as people of diverse beliefs and habits lived in the country.

And the spirit of the parliamentary discussion was about “us” and not about “you” or “me”.

“To strengthen our democracy, it is important for people to know about all aspects of our constitution.

“Ambedkar’s role in framing the constitution cannot be ignored, but there are others too who worked and contributed to it.”

Modi said it was the parliamentarians’ duty to take the spirit of the constitution among the people.

The prime minister also said that despite the insults he faced in his lifetime as a Dalit, Ambedkar drafted the constitution without any bias.

“He bore all the humiliation but there was no sense of revenge in him. No sense of revenge is reflected in the constitution.”

Modi also praised Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan for her speech at the start of the debate on Thursday.

“I believe your speech will be an inspirational document in parliamentary history. I congratulate you,” he said to applause.

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