This Article is From Aug 15, 2016

At Red Fort, Young India Swept PM Modi Off his Feet. Almost.

PM Modi was a hit with the children, who had cheered for him through his 90-odd-minute speech.

New Delhi: As thousands of children swarmed around Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the end of his speech at Red Fort today, eager to shake his hands and touch his feet, the 65-year-old appeared in some danger of getting swamped. It was touch and go. But then, a security official came to his aid.

The Prime Minister was a hit with the children, who had cheered for him through his 90-odd-minute speech.

The biggest cheer came when PM Modi mentioned India's "humane" reaction to the massacre of 150 Pakistani schoolchildren by terrorists in Peshawar in 2014.

"Many innocents were killed in Peshawar terrorist attack, but there were tears in everyone's eyes in Parliament here... Each of India's schools cried that day... That is the nature of India," he had said.

The children's exuberance was all the more because for a time, it looked like the Prime Minister might give them a miss.

"I had seen on TV last year how he had reached out to some students," said Puja, a student from a private school. "I was expecting him to greet us today too. As his motorcade started moving, I thought he will not greet us. But he did, and I am feeling quite happy to have greeted him," said the 12-year-old.

Some children, however, were disappointed, having missed a handshake with the Prime Minister. "Nevertheless, I was happy to see him from a close distance," said Rajesh.

Thousands of children had taken part in the programme; 3,500 girls from various schools under Delhi's Directorate of Education had also participated in the event.

Others, dressed in yellow and blue, formed the figure '70' to demarcate the 70th Independence Day. Students also performed patriotic songs in different regional languages.