Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday will unfurl the Tricolour and address the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort for the fourth time on the 70th anniversary of Independence Day.
The tradition started when India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru hoisted the national flag from the 17th century Mughal monument on August 16, 1947, a day after India was declared an independent country.
Nehru hoisted the flag from the Red Fort for the record 17 consecutive times, while his daughter, former PM Indira Gandhi got the honour 16 times. Indira Gandhi had unfurled the flag 11 consecutive times between 1966 and 1977.
Outside the Gandhi-Nehru family, Manmohan Singh is the only PM to have reached the double digit when it comes to unfurling the Tricolour from the Red Fort. He got the honour 10 times from 2004 to 2013.
Manmohan Singh’s predecessor Atal Bihari Vajpayee had hoisted the Tricolour from the Red Fort six consecutive times between 1998 and 2003.
Former PMs Rajiv Gandhi and PV Narasimha Rao got the honour five times each; Lal Bahadur Shastri and Morarji Desai two times each; Charan Singh, VP Singh, HD Deve Gowda and Inder Kumar Gujral got the chance to do so only once.
Interestingly, Gulzari Lal Nanda, in his two brief tenures as interim Prime Minister could never hoist the Tricolour from the Lal Quila. Ex-PM Chandra Shekhar also never got the honour to address the nation from the fort.