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Naveen Patnaik wants 'ahimsa' added to Constitution as tribute to Mahatma Gandhi
The Hindu

A total of 23 Chief Ministers and Manmohan Singh were among those who attended the meeting chaired by President Ram Nath Kovind


Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday suggested that the word “ahimsa” (non-violence) be added to the Preamble to the Indian constitution as the “greatest tribute” to Mahatma Gandhi, as the nation plans to celebrate his 150th birth anniversary.
“I believe the greatest tribute India could pay Gandhiji on his 150th anniversary is to include the ‘uniquely’ Indian ideal of ahimsa, of non-violence, in the Preamble of India’s constitution,” Mr. Patnaik said. “This will ensure that future generations, not just Indians but people around the world, will be reminded of the profound truth of this principle.”
He made this suggestion here at the first meeting of the National Committee for Commemoration of the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, which was chaired by President Ramnath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhawan.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, key Union ministers, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, senior BJP leader L.K. Advani and a host of Chief Ministers of states attended this meet.
“Rashtrapati Ji chaired the first meeting of the National Committee for Commemoration of 150th Birth Anniversary of Bapu. The meeting witnessed wide-scale participation, with eminent leaders, CMs, citizens from various walks of life and people from overseas taking an active part,” Mr. Modi tweeted. “Mahatma Gandhi gave his life for the nation. He led a movement due to which our generations can breathe the air of freedom and have the privilege of living in a vibrant democracy. We should ensure more and more people across the world know about Bapu’s greatness.”


He added, “Gandhi Ji’s 150th birth anniversary is a perfect occasion for us to reiterate our commitment towards fulfilling Bapu’s dreams, through our ‘Karyanjali.' We should leave no stone unturned in creating an India that would make Bapu very proud.”
Sources said the first meet was to elicit opinions on how the anniversary should be celebrated. Clean India and Gram Swarajya – with a focus on open-defecation-free villages with basic infrastructure like power – are expected to be focus areas, a source said.
Mr. Modi had said while launching the Swachh Bharat Mission on October 2, 2014: “A clean India would be the best tribute India could pay to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150 birth anniversary in 2019.”
The government has claimed that electricity has reached all inhabited Indian villages. The Economic Survey 2017-18 had said that the number of people defecating in the open had fallen to less than half the number in 2014. However, 25-crore people in rural India still defecated in the open till January 2018.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu – whose party recently left the NDA – skipped the meet. A letter from a senior Andhra official to the secretary, Ministry of Culture, said that the CM was skipping the meet because of a Cabinet meeting in the state. The letter, however, said that Mr. Naidu had great regard for the Mahatma and was personally involved in ensuring that villages become open-defecation-free. It also sought further guidelines for the event.



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