The country’s internal and external health are equally important and interdependent,” Shiromani Akali Dal patron and former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said on Thursday.
In a statement on the 45th anniversary of the Emergency imposed by the Indira Gandhi government in 1975, Mr. Badal said the commitment to democracy could become meaningless without an equally profound commitment to the secular ethos as enshrined in the Constitution. “Secularism is a prerequisite for democracy, and vice-versa. Each ideal strengthens the other.”
Mr. Badal said India’s federal structure was vital for the health of Indian democracy. “Democracy is not a single-tier structure. It functions at the individual and social levels through the universal voting right, but at the national and inter-State levels, a genuinely federal structure is the only guarantee for meaningful working of our system for national prosperity and turning India into a global super power,” he said.
Underscoring the need for “constant vigil” against “overt and covert dictatorial tendencies that can always threaten democracy,” Mr. Badal said, “Like our independence and sovereignty, secularism and democracy, too, have to be defended every moment of every single day in the life of our nation. Even a moment’s let-up can prove disastrous and even fatal,” he said.