Centuries-old desire of Ram temple now a reality: President Murmu

In her first address to a joint sitting of the two houses in the new Parliament building, the President touched upon varied issues ranging from insurgency to inflation

President Murmu in Parliament (video screengrab)
President Murmu in Parliament (video screengrab)


President Droupadi Murmu on Wednesday hailed the Modi government's big ticket reforms in the last 10 years and said the "centuries-old desire to build a Ram temple in Ayodhya has now become reality", while apprehensions over the abrogation of Article 370 are a thing of the past.

Incidentally, the President was handed the official invitation to the temple's consecration or pran pratishtha ceremony about 10 days before it was held, and politely turned it down.

In her first address to a joint sitting of the two houses in the new Parliament building, in which she touched upon varied issues ranging from insurgency to inflation, Murmu said a country can progress at a fast pace only when it defeats the challenges of the past and invests maximum energy into building the future.

She asserted that India's armed forces were giving "a befitting reply to terrorism and expansionism". Murmu also said India is now a prominent voice against terrorism in the world.

The government, she said, believes the grand edifice of a developed India will stand on the four strong pillars of youth power, women power, farmers and the poor.

"In the last 10 years, the country has witnessed the completion of projects for which the people had waited for decades. There was the desire to build the Ram Mandir for centuries and today it has become a reality," she said to thumping of desks from the treasury benches.

"In cultural history, there are some milestones that decide the future of centuries. In India's history also there have been numerous such milestones. On 22 January, the country witnessed one such milestone. After a centuries-long wait, Ram Lalla now resides in a grand temple in Ayodhya," she said. Following the consecration ceremony in Ayodhya Dham, 13 lakh devotees have done darshan in just five days, the President noted.

She said there were apprehensions over the removal of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir "but they have become history now". There is an environment of peace and security in Jammu and Kashmir as there is vibrancy in markets instead of the "silence of shutdowns" that were witnessed in the past, the president said. Incidents of insurgency have also gone down in the Northeast, she asserted, and the government has also established a strict law against triple talaq.

Murmu arrived at Parliament House in a buggy to deliver her address to the joint sitting of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. The President entered the House with the sengol (sceptre) being carried in front of her. This is the last session of Parliament before the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

In her address, she also said the Indian economy used to be among the 'fragile five' but was now moving in the right direction and at the right pace owing to several reforms undertaken by the government in the last 10 years.

"According to the NITI Aayog, in the 10-year rule of my government, nearly 25 crore people have come out of poverty," she said. "We have been hearing slogans of eradicating poverty for long; now first time we are seeing poverty being eradicated on a large-scale."

Over the past decade, Murmu said, the government has made good governance, transparency the cornerstone of every system. "My government is continuously working on making it easy to do business in India and creating a suitable environment for it," she said.

Murmu said the government is working with full commitment to empower MSMEs and small entrepreneurs. Earlier, the country's rate of inflation was in double digits and is now within 4 per cent, she said.

Murmu also congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the passage of the Women's Reservation Bill.

Those seated in the front rows included PM Modi, Union home minister Amit Shah, Union ministers Piyush Goyal and Nitin Gadkari, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, and Congress Parliamentary party chief Sonia Gandhi.

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