Democracy is a sacred trust for people in power: President

New Delhi, Jan 25: President Pranab Mukherjee Saturday said democracy was a "sacred trust" for people in power and those who violate it commit sacrilege against the nation.

In his address on the eve of Republic Day, the president said democracy "had become our most precious guide towards peace and regeneration from the swamp of poverty" created by centuries of colonial rule.

He said fraternity, dignity of individual and unity of the nation were ideals that had become the lodestar of modern Indian state.

"For us, the democracy is not a gift, but the fundamental right of every citizen; for those in power democracy is a sacred trust. Those who violate this trust commit sacrilege against the nation," the president said.

"Corruption is a cancer"

"Corruption is a cancer that erodes democracy, and weakens the foundations of our state. If Indians are enraged, it is because they are witnessing corruption and waste of national resources. If governments do not remove these flaws, voters will remove governments," Mukherjee said.

"Populist anarchy cannot substitute governance"

The president also said that rise of hypocrisy in public life was dangerous and noted that government was "not a charity shop".

In his address on the eve of Republic Day, the president said elections do not give any person license to flirt with illusions.

"Elections do not give any person the licence to flirt with illusions. Those who seek the trust of voters must promise only what is possible. Government is not a charity shop. Populist anarchy cannot be a substitute for governance. False promises lead to disillusionment, which gives birth to rage, and that rage has one legitimate target: those in power," the president said.

Analysts said that the president's remarks that government was not a charity shop was directed at tendency among political parties to promise freebies and electoral doles to win elections.

The Aam Aadmi Paty had made promises concerning free supply of water and reduction of power tariff - both considered economically unfeasible - in the national capital in the run-up to elections last month. Many other parties have made similar promises in the past and were apparently planning to do so in run-up to the Lok Sabha polls this year.

The analysts also said that the president's reference to "populist anarchy" was also apparently aimed at the AAP which staged a night-long demonstration, led by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his cabinet, in the capital earlier this week defying prohibitory orders on assembly of people.

The opposition parties had accused the AAP government of creating an "anarchic situation" in the capital. In response, Kejriwal had declared he was an "anarchist" and had no hesitation to promote "disorder" in pursuit of his political cause.

The president said that aspirational young Indians will not forgive a betrayal of their future and those in office must eliminate the trust deficit.

"This rage will abate only when governments deliver what they were elected to deliver: social and economic progress, not at a snail's pace, but with the speed of a racehorse. The aspirational young Indian will not forgive a betrayal of her future. Those in office must eliminate the trust deficit between them and the people. Those in politics should understand that every election comes with a warning sign: perform, or perish," the president said.

President warns against fractured mandate

"This year, we will witness the 16th general election to our Lok Sabha. A fractured government, hostage to whimsical opportunists, is always an unhappy eventuality. In 2014, it could be catastrophic. Each one of us is a voter; each one of us has a deep responsibility; we cannot let India down. It is time for introspection and action," the president said.

President praises the youth

He said the youth can transform villages and cities to 21st century standards.

"Give them a chance and you will marvel at the India they can create. This chance will not come if India does not get a stable government," the president said.


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