Patiala, August 15: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today called upon the Centre to strengthen the states by giving more powers in conformity with its true federal character for realising the dreams of our great martyrs and freedom fighters who laid down their lives to make our country free from the shackles of British imperialism.
While addressing a massive gathering on the occasion of 66th Independence Day State level function held here at YPS stadium after unfurling the National Flag, Badal said that this was a day of introspection for all of us to see if we have fulfilled the dreams of our great freedom fighters but unfortunately, the country still faced with massive poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, inequality and many other social evils even after 65 years of Independence.
“We have a long way to travel for fulfilling the dreams and aspirations of those who sacrificed their lives for the country”, said Badal.
The Chief Minister asked the Center to give a serious thought for setting up of a genuinely federal structure in the country as the present trend towards the unitary system was against the basic spirit of democracy. He said that the tendency of the Center to usurp the powers and authority of the states already ensured by the Constitution was detrimental to the interests of the states.
Badal said the real tribute to our martyrs and heroes on this solemn day would be to cherish the aspirations of our people by ensuring them a quality life through providing basic civic amenities like safe drinking water, electricity and sewage system etc., which could only be feasible if the Center granted more financial and political powers to the states to realize the dreams of our freedom fighters. Paying rich tributes to the several known and unknown martyrs and heroes, the Chief Minister lauded the unprecedented and unique contribution of Punjabis in India’s Independence struggle.
He said that the supreme sacrifices made by our brave martyrs like Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev, Lala Lajpat Rai, Shaheed Udham Singh and Kartar Singh Sarabha would ever continue to inspire our future generations.
Adding, he said that though the Punjabis constituted only 2% of the country’s population but their immense contribution in the freedom struggle could never be ignored because more than 75% of freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives, or faced imprisonment were Punjabis. He said that it was a matter of pride and honour that all the prominent movements associated with Independence struggle like Kuka Lehar, Ghadar Lehar, Babbar Akali Movement and Gurdwara Sudhar Lehar were sphereheaded from Punjab. To pay a befitting tribute to our heroes and martyrs for their glorious sacrifices in the freedom struggle, the Punjab government has decided to set up a world class Memorial, to be known as ‘Jang-e-Azaadi Yadgar’ at Kartarpur in Jalandhar district.
On the occasion, Badal thanked the people of Punjab for giving him an opportunity to serve them as Chief Minister for the fifth term and second consecutive term of SAD-BJP regime in the state.