Modi set to deliver his 6th I-Day speech
August 14, 2019  16:15
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will deliver on Thursday his sixth straight Independence Day speech and is expected to touch on a host of issues, ranging from his government's landmark decision on Jammu and Kashmir to the state of economy.
 
This will also be his first August 15 address after coming back to power with a huge mandate.
Modi has used the annual event to announce his government's showpiece programmes like 'Swachh Bharat', 'Ayushman Bharat' and India's first manned space mission, and also to present a report card on its performance to highlight how the country has grown on his watch.
The BJP's remarkable win in the recent general election followed by its success in getting Parliament's nod to its contentious but core agenda of revoking Jammu and Kashmir's special status under Article 370, has already set the tempo of his speech, party leaders believe.
In his address to the nation last week, he had assured people of the Valley development and peace, as he sought to assuage concerns following his government's decision to scrap the state's special status and dividing it into two Union Territories.
The situation in Kashmir remains far from normal amid a security clampdown and communication restrictions.
This will be Modi's sixth August 15 speech, a number equal to the addresses from the ramparts of the Red Fort by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the first and only other prime minister from the BJP. Vajpayee had given six straight speeches between 1998-2003.
With a dispirited opposition unable to pose any serious challenge to the BJP's hegemony and Modi's return to power with a majority even bigger than his landslide win in 2014, many believe he may use the occasion to announce reforms or make concessions to different sections of the society.
There is also a view that Modi may seek to address concerns over the economic slowdown. -- PTI
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