President Pranab Mukherjee once again pitched for electoral reforms and simultaneous general elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies during his address to the nation on the eve of Republic Day.
Mukherjee said that in the Indian Republic's journey of 68 years, it is now time to recognise and rectify the imperfections, and called for a "constructive debate" on electoral reforms in this context.
"As our Republic enters her 68th year, we must acknowledge that our systems are not perfect. The imperfections have to be recognised and rectified. The settled complacencies have to be questioned. The edifice of trust has to be strengthened," the President said in his address.
"The time is also ripe for a constructive debate on electoral reforms and a return to the practice of the early decades after independence when elections to Lok Sabha and state assemblies were held simultaneously," he added.
Mukherjee said that it is for the Election Commission to take this exercise forward "in consultation with political parties".
These are the other highlights of his speech:
- Our motherland asks each of us in whatever role we play to do our duty; with integrity, commitment and unflinching loyalty
- We have to work harder because; we are all equal children before our mother
- We must ensure well-being of our soldiers and security personnel who protect us from internal and external threats
- We have to work harder to keep at bay dark forces of terrorism; these forces have to be dealt with firmly and decisively
- Reason and moderation should be our guide in dealing with such situations
- We have to work harder because our pluralistic culture and tolerance are still being put to test by vested interests
- We have to appease nature to prevent it from unleashing its fury in the form of floods, landslides and droughts
- We have to work harder to change our consumption pattern which has resulted in environmental and ecological de-gradation
- Children must be able to enjoy their childhood to the fullest
- Women must be able to lead their lives with honour and dignity
- We have to work harder to provide safety and security to our women and children
- The competitiveness of the domestic industry has to be improved by focusing on quality, productivity and efficiency