The Constitution stands for the dignity and unity of India and Indians, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told parliament today on the occasion of Constitution Day. Saluting Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar, who played a key role in the framing of the document, the Prime Minister claimed that nobody would be happier at the state of affairs in the country than its first Law Minister. India had strengthened and empowered its democracy in the 70 years since the Constitution was adopted, he added.
"The two mantras of the Constitution are 'dignity for Indians' and 'unity for India'," Prime Minister Modi told MPs gathered in the Central Hall of Parliament, adding, "Had Babasaheb Ambedkar been alive today he would have probably been the happiest man".
PM Modi was speaking shortly after the Supreme Court ruled on the chaotic political situation in Maharashtra, where the BJP's Devendra Fadnavis was sworn in as Chief Minister after a secretive ceremony on Saturday.
In his speech the Prime Minister praised Indians' "faith in democracy" and described the Constitution as a "holy book".
"I bow down to 130 crore Indians, who never let their faith in India's democracy diminish. (I have) always considered our Constitution to be a holy book, a guiding light," he declared.
PM Modi also spoke of citizens' rights, saying we could only "expect" them if we "perform our duties to perfection".
"The Constitution of India highlights both rights and duties of citizens. Gandhi-ji (said) we can only expect all rights when we perform our duties to perfection. Thus, according to the father of our nation, duties and rights are directly linked," he said, adding, "There are several such easy duties citizens can perform and contribute to the rise of the nation".
"If a citizen saves every drop of water, he's performing his duty. If he's getting immunization done at the right time, he's performing his duty. If he's voting, he's performing his duty. If he's paying his taxes, he's performing his duty," the Prime Minister said.
PM Modi also paid his respects to those killed in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. "I pay tributes to those killed in the Mumbai terror attacks," he said.
India marks its 5th Constitution Day - a tribute to Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar - today. A practice that began four years ago, during the first term of the Narendra Modi government, it is celebrated on November 26 - the day the nation adopted its constitution.
November 26 used to be celebrated as National Law Day.
While the Prime Minister was speaking inside parliament, opposition parties gathered outside the building. Led by Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who read out the Preamble of the Constitution, opposition leaders protested the government formation in Maharashtra.
With input from ANI