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Republic Day eve speech: Lok Sabha polls 'once-in-a-century moment', says Kovind

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New Delhi, Jan 25: President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday addressed the nation on the eve of the 70th Republic Day.

Republic Day eve speech: President Ram Nath Kovind addresses nation

In his address to the nation on the eve of the 70th Republic Day, Kovind said,''Republic Day 2019 is an opportunity for all citizens of the country to remember independence, equality, & brotherhood.''

''This Independence Day is important for us in a special way. On Oct 2, we'll celebrate 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Not only for India, but this anniversary is also an opportunity for entire world to understand,adopt and implement his principles,'' he said.

Speaking on the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, Kovind said, "Elections to 17th Lok Sabha is a 'once-in-a-century moment'." Urging people to cast their votes, he said, "Decisions and actions of today will shape the India of the remainder of the 21st century."

Stating that India's pluralism is its greatest strength and its greatest example to the world, President Kovind said, "The 'Indian model' rests on a tripod of diversity, democracy and development. We cannot choose one above the other; we must have all three and we will have all three."

Speaking on the 10% quota for the poor under the general category, the President said, "The recent constitutional amendment to provide special facilities for talented children from poorer families is another step to an India of our dreams - and of Gandhiji's dreams."

"It is important to create avenues for such conversations, even if they are inconvenient. In a society experiencing rapid change, we must be prepared for such conversations," the President said.

"Our Republic's vision is of reaching democratic goals by democratic means, pluralistic goals by pluralistic means, enlightened goals by enlightened means, compassionate goals by compassionate means - and constitutional goals by constitutional means," Kovind said.

Ahead of the celebrations, chief guest for the Republic Day celebrations, President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosac arrived in India and was accorded the ceremonial Guard of Honour at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. Ramaphosac also visited the Rajghat and paid his tributes to Mahatma Gandhi during the day. The chief guest will accompany the President to the saluting dais on Saturday.

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