This year’s Independence Day celebrations at Red Fort had a first — two helicopters showered flowers on the audience soon after PM Narendra Modi unfurled the tricolour. What was probably another first, at least in recent years, was the prime minister reading from a prepared text. PM Modi, who is known for his extempore, powerful speeches, was seen referring to written text through the speech.

PM Modi has often been accused of reading from a teleprompter. In the past, he hardly referred to the written speech in front of him while addressing the nation. This time, however, it was different and he was constantly referring to the written speech.

This has led to many people asking on Twitter, “this is PM Modi at 75?”

Some of the users also said that they want to see the “old Modi”.

On the 75th Independence Day, which is being marked as the “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav” with two-year-long celebrations, the prime minister called for “100 per cent” in terms of growth.

In his nearly 90-minute speech, PM Modi dwelt on a range of issues, including India’s deprived poor, its small farmers, and the pain of Partition. He also highlighted the two key challenges before the country – terrorism and expansionism, and that new India will not bow down but will give a strong response to such aggressions.

By conducting surgical and airstrikes, the country had sent out the message of a ‘New India’, he said. This shows India is changing and can take difficult decisions, Modi said from the ramparts of the Red Fort, the centrepiece of India’s Independence Day celebrations.

Earlier today, PM Modi tweeted his greetings on the occasion of 75th Independence Day. “May this year of ”Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav” infuse new energy among the people of the country. Jai Hind!” he said in a tweet.

As the country is battling the COVID-19, the 75th Independence Day celebrations remain muted as the nation is staring at a possible third wave.

The national capital was also under a tight security blanket that included anti-drone defence systems in sensitive areas.