From making governance more responsive and creating job opportunities to the impact of abrogation of Article 370, a host of issues were highlighted by chief ministers on Independence Day ad celebrations in the states passed off peacefully Thursday amid tight security. After unfurling the national flag at state-level functions on the 73rd Independence Day, the leaders inspected parades by police and paramilitary forces, and listed various achievements of their respective governments in their speeches.
In the first Independence Day celebration after the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir's special status, Governor Satya Pal Malik said the identity of people of the state is neither at stake nor tampered with after the Centre's move. Hoisting the national flag at the Sher-e-Kashmir Stadium in Srinagar amid tight security, Malik termed the constitutional changes introduced by the Centre "historic" and said they will open a new door of development and help various communities promote their languages and cultures in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
"These changes have removed the hurdles for economic development and prosperity,” he said. Authorities were on high alert across the country in view of developments related to Jammu and Kashmir.
The issue of abrogation of Article 370 found an echo in the northeast with several chief ministers assuring the people that the special status guaranteed to them in the Constitution would not be tinkered with. "I assure the people of my state that the provisions of Article 371-H will continue to stay in force and the same had been categorically assured in Parliament by the Centre," Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu said after unfurling the national tricolour at Indira Gandhi Park in Itanagar.
He said the provisions enshrined in Article 371 of the Constitution are aimed at "protecting the economic and cultural interests" of some states, including Arunachal Pradesh.
"On the occasion of 73rd Independence Day, I pledge to protect, conserve and consolidate Article 371(F) of the Constitution which provides a special status to our state," Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang said in his address. The chief ministers of Mizoram and Meghalaya focussed on progress and development.
In his Independence Day address, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal defended his government's stand on the National Register of Citizens, and announced that a new policy would soon be formulated to give land rights to landless families. In a Raksha Bandhan gift for women, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that rides on DTC and cluster buses will be free for them from October 29.
Delivering the last Independence Day speech of his term at Chhatrasal Stadium in Delhi, Kejriwal said his government is also working on its decision to provide free rides to women in the Delhi Metro. There are 5,500 buses, including of 3,800 of the Delhi Transport Corporation and over 1,600 cluster (orange) buses operated by the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System.
Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik announced a public outreach programme in which he and other ministers will ring up people to get their views on governance. After hoisting the national flag in Bhubaneswar, he said, "The Mo Sarkar
programme will be based on five Ts -- Transparency, Teamwork, Technology, Time and Transformation -- to make the government more accountable and responsive." He also stepped up the demand for inclusion of Mahatma Gandhi's non-violence in the preamble of the Constitution saying it will enhance the pride of Indian democracy abroad.
In his hour-long address, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar asserted that there would be no compromise on "crime, corruption and communalism" under his rule, which has been characterized by "nyay ke saath vikas" (development with justice) and "sampradayik sauhardra" (communal harmony). He said a Public Service Grievances Redressal Act is in place which guarantees resolution of complaints in a transparent manner and a mechanism has been devised for deciding service-related issues of government servants in a time-bound manner.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee unfurled the national flag and took salute from a Kolkata Police contingent during a guard of honour which was followed by a parade by different police wings. She, however, did not address the people at the programme. In a Twitter post late on Wednesday night, she said, "I salute my nation and all our countrymen & women on Independence Day. Democracy is our most priceless asset. Let us take an oath today, not to divide India. We must unite India."
"We must always strive for political freedom, economic freedom, freedom of expression and preserve democratic rights. When these are not given, we should organise peaceful movements to preserve these rights." In flood-hit states like Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra, the celebrations were affected.
The Maharashtra government will strive to ensure that the rehabilitation of the flood-affected people is done in record time, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said at the Independence Day function in Mumbai. Greeting people during the Independence Day celebrations at the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) headquarters in Nagpur, its chief Mohan Bhagwat said Jammu and Kashmir's special status under Article 370 could be revoked because the entire society showed determination, and lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership and "will power" for taking such a decision.
Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath said his government would bring a law to reserve 70 per cent jobs in industrial units for people from the state. His counterparts in Chhattisgarh Bhupesh Baghel announced that "now 27 per cent reservation will be provided to Other Backward Classes (OBCs), 13 per cent to Scheduled Castes (SCs) and 32 per cent to Scheduled Tribes (STs)." he said.
Till now, the OBCs and SCs were getting 14 per cent and 12 per cent reservation, respectively, in educational institutions and government jobs in the state, while the STs had 32 per cent quota, an official said.
The CM also said that an 'elephant reserve' would be set up in the state to provide the tuskers a permanent habitat and prevent human-animal conflicts. Floods and rains affecting normal life in most parts of state cast its shadow on
Independence Day celebrations in Karnataka, with Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa asserting his government was ready to face the situation. Amid a growing clamour to reserve jobs for Karnataka residents, Yediyurappa said his government is committed to ensuring employment opportunities of Kannadigas are never compromised and they get a lion's share.
In his Independence Day address after unfurling the tricolour at the Fort St George in Chennai, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami announced trifurcating the large Vellore district into three and asserted his government's commitment to the two-language formula.
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan cautioned against attempts to weaken and violate the Constitution and said the values enshrined in the Constitution should be protected. In a veiled attack on the Centre for scrapping the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, he said India is a country where states enjoy special privileges and any infringement into their rights would amount to the violation of the Constitution and federal principles.
Vijayan's Uttar Pradesh counterparts Yogi Adityanath, however, hailed the Centre's moves on Jammu and Kashmir. "For the Kashmiri brothers and sisters, this Independence Day has brought a new morning. They have got freedom from the shackles of Article 370.
"A new path has been paved for the Kashmiri brothers and sisters and Kashmir and Ladakh are now going to script a new tale of development. I also congratulate the honourable prime minister and Union home minister for taking the bold decision and writing a golden chapter in the history of India's unity and integrity," Adityanath said on Twitter as part of his message on the 73rd Independence Day. Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat said the Independence Day fervour across the country has doubled this year as the Centre's "momentous" decision to scrap provisions of Article 370 has opened a new era of development in Jammu and Kashmir.
Unfurling the national flag at the Parade Ground in Dehradun, Rawat congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah for their "historic" move on Article 370, saying it marked the dawn of a "new era of development" in Jammu and Kashmir. People in Punjab, Haryana and their joint capital Chandigarh on Thursday celebrated the 73rd Independence Day, amid tight security arrangements.
Punjab Governor and UT Chandigarh Administrator V P Singh Badnore unfurled the tricolour in Chandigarh and Haryana Governor Satyadeo Narain Arya in Faridabad. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh unfurled the tricolour in Jalandhar.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)