New Delhi: Patriotic fervour gripped the nation on the 71st Independence Day on Tuesday as people from across states and Union territories came together to celebrate the occasion underlining the spirit of unity in diversity.
As chief ministers hoisted the tricolour amid tight security, they announced development programmes, flagged challenges confronting them and pledged to take their states forward. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti used the occasion to talk about her state's special status, express hope in country's institutions and attack Pakistan for fuelling violence in the northern state.
On Article 35A, which has been challenged in the apex court, she said, "I am sure the Supreme Court will dismiss the present petition before it." Mehbooba said the people of the state decided to accede to India as they found similarities in the pluralism that existed in the state and the country. She said that many people across the country believe J&K is the crown of India. "There is no doubt about it and it should remain like that," she added.
Meanwhile, mobile phone services and portable Internet services were snapped across Indian-administered-Kashmir as a precautionary measure, officials said.
Unfurling the national flag, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath stressed the importance of Swachch Bharat Mission in tackling diseases like encephalitis as he regretted that children are dying even after 70 years of Independence.
Addressing a gathering at the Chattarsal Stadium on the occasion, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the Delhi government would come out with a detailed plan to check spread of dengue and chikungunya in the next 10 days. He also said the no-detention policy ruined the education system and assured 60,000 students who failed in class 10 this year will be readmitted.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat unfurled the flag and promised to honour the mandate given by the people by wiping out graft from the state. He said the government will work to achieve 100 per cent literacy in the state by 2019.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh assured farmers that his government will implement the promised farm-debt waiver scheme in about a month and appealed them to not consider committing suicide or taking any other extreme step.
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani announced setting up of 10 industrial estates for small industries, financial aid to fishermen, and free Wi-Fi on educational campuses.
CM Devendra Fadnavis said the Maharashtra government aims to make farmers debt-free and also announced the homeless would be provided with houses by 2019 as the Independence Day was celebrated with fervour across the state.
However, the celebrations at some places in the west central state of Maharashtra were marred by protests by farmers who sought to disrupt flag hoisting by district guardian ministers over loan-waiver.
In his address, Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the state government aims to make the state free of corruption and poverty by 2022. He also said every poor in the state will have a house of his own by 2022.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expressed concern over the "grim flood situation" in his state and assured the that the government would do everything to help them. He said the disaster-hit people have the first right on state's exchequer.
People across West Bengal celebrated the day with colourful processions, parades and cultural programmes as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee unfurled the national flag in Kolkata. Colourful tableaux depicting government schemes like Kanyashree, Sabujshree, Khadya Sathi and Sabuj Sathi were exhibited. A special tableau on the upcoming FIFA World Cup U-17, which will also be hosted in Kolkata, was also presented.
As flood waters wreaked havoc in the state, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said the main cause of the devastation by the Brahmaputra river is silt and sand carried by rivers from other states. The river bed of the Brahmaputra is rising gradually and reducing its water carrying capacity, he said. "The prime cause of increasing silt and sand carried by rain water is deforestation in the neighbouring states. We have apprised the prime minister of the matter during his recent Guwahati visit," he said.
In Tripura, Chief Minister Manik Sarkar hoisted the flag at the Assam Rifles parade ground and cautioned against "a force trying to mix politics with religion". In Itanagar, unfurling the tricolour, Chief Minister Pema Khandu said, the people of Arunachal Pradesh share a special relationship with the armed forces, "who have stood by us in times of adversity and times of prosperity".
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik suddenly fell ill while addressing the people at the Independence Day function but officials said he recovered soon. The CM left the parade venue only after taking salute. In Aizawl, Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla said Mizoram's New Land Use Policy has brought development as the state celebrated the day with gaiety and enthusiasm.
Meanwhile, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar appealed to the people to join hands with the government to make the state free of plastic by 2020. In southern states, Telangana CM Chandrasekhar Rao said in his Independence Day address the state government would soon take steps to give about 85,000 new jobs.
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan urged people to defeat attempts to "poison and dilute" the idea of nationalism, while his Tamil Nadu counterpart K. Palaniswami said his government was working with the sole aim of public service "smashing all hurdles before us".
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said "imposition" of any language on a state is unconstitutional as he emphasised that the strength of the nation lies in the fact that all languages and communities not only co-exist, but also flourish by retaining their identities within the democratic set-up.