National / World

Votes of youths will be bedrock of new India, says Modi

New Delhi, Dec 31 (PTI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday urged youths, who turn 18 on Monday, to register as electors and said their votes would prove to be the bedrock of New India.

In his last 'Mann ki Baat' address of the year, he suggested that 'mock Parliament' be organised around August 15 in Delhi, comprising a young representative selected from every district of the country who would deliberate on how a new India could be formed in the next five years.

He said mock parliaments should be organised in every district before the proposed event in August in the national capital.

He said in the new year, people should take concrete steps to make a "progressive India" and also recounted an inspirational story of Anjum Bashir Khan Khattak, the topper of the Kashmir Administrative Service examination.

"He actually extricated himself from the sting of terrorism and hatred and topped in the Kashmir Administrative Examination. You will be surprised to know that terrorists had set his ancestral home on fire in 1990," Modi said.

He said terrorism and violence were so widespread there that his family had to leave their ancestral land and flee.

For a young child, such an atmosphere of violence could easily create darkness and bitterness in heart, but Anjum did not let it be so and he never gave up hope. He chose a different path, a path of serving the people, he said. He also recalled his meeting with young girls from the state and said he was amazed at the spirit that they had, the enthusiasm that was there in their hearts and the dreams they nurtured.

He said people born in the year 2000 or later would gradually begin to become eligible voters from January 1, 2018.

"The Indian democracy welcomes the voters of the 21st century, the 'new India voters'. I congratulate our youth and urge them to register themselves as voters.

"The entire nation is eager to welcome you as voters of the 21st century...your vote will prove to be the bedrock of new India. The power of the vote is the greatest strength of a democracy. It is the most effective tool in bringing about a positive change in the lives of millions of people," he said.

According to the Election Commission, 13,430,193 people who were 18-19 years of age voted in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. " India will be free from the poison of casteism, communalism, terrorism and corruption; free from filth and poverty. In the New India everyone will have equal opportunity and aspirations and wishes of everyone will be fulfilled. New India will be a place where peace, unity and amity will be our guiding force," Modi said in his broadcast.

On cleanliness, Modi said a change can now be seen in the form of public participation in rural and urban areas alike.

He said cleanliness survey 2018, the largest in the world, will be conducted from January 4 to March 10 to evaluate the achievements of the mission in urban areas. This survey will cover a population of more than 40 crore in over 4,000 cities.

He said this Republic Day, not one but ten chief guests would grace the January 26 parade at Rajpath.

"...January 26, 2018 will especially be remembered through the ages. The Republic Day will be celebrated with leaders of all ten ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries coming to India as chief guests...this is unprecedented in India's history," he said.

He said, 2017 has been special for both Asean and India. While, Aseab completed 50 years of formation and India's partnership with Asean also completed 25 years.

"On January 26, the arrival of great leaders of 10 nations of the world as a unit is a matter of pride for all Indians," Modi said.

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