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Modi Attacks Opposition, Tears Congress into Pieces

Modi Attacks Opposition, Tears Congress into Pieces

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Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, Feb 5: In a bid to demolish his principal rival the Congress ahead of the Lok Sabha elections due in three months, a combative Prime Minister Narendra Modi ripped into the opposition on Monday taking special aim at the Congress claiming that the Grand Old Party “would have taken 100 more years” to achieve what his BJP had done in the past 10 years.

Replying to the debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President for her address in the Lok Sabha, Mr Modi targeted the opposition with special emphasis on Congress, for condemning his government’s schemes. Asserting that BJP would win 370 seats on its own in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections he attacked the Opposition on issues like nepotism, corruption, inflation and casteism. Listing his two terms’ achievements, he also envisioned a pathway to make India the 3rd largest economy in his third term.

“Our goals are big and the world is seeing that. The pace at which work is progressing in India… Congress can’t even imagine it. We built four crore houses for poor people… 80 lakh pukka houses. It would’ve taken 100 years for Congress to get this work done…” the Prime Minister said. Mr Modi fired a series of sharp jibes and jabs – met with cheers and thumping of desks by his MPs – at the Congress, which he held “responsible for the state of the opposition today.”

Targeting the Congress and the Gandhi family, the Prime Minister said it was the Congress that was responsible for the state of the Opposition. “They failed and didn’t allow other parties to perform either. They have ruined the parliament, the Opposition and the country. I believe the country needs a strong Opposition. The country has faced the ramifications of dynasty politics, and the Congress has faced it too,” as he taunted his rivals for having “lost the will to fight…” “They will sit there for more time to come.”

“I can see many in the opposition have lost hope… strength to even fight elections. I’ve heard many want to go to Rajya Sabha instead of Lok Sabha. The President’s address is, in a way, based on facts and truth… and is a big proof of reality that is presented in front of people,” the Prime Minister said. “Look at the Congress’ situation. (Congress chief Mallikarjun) Kharge had to move the House and (former leader) Ghulam Nabi Azad had to leave the party,” he continued.

Mr Modi also took a dig at senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi – who remains the de facto prime ministerial face of his party despite two consecutive Lok Sabha election defeats – and his “mohabbat ki dukaan” slogan.” The “Congress’s “dukaan” — meaning shop — is shutting down due to its efforts to “launch the same product over and over,” he chuckled.

In another dig at Mr Gandhi, he said the Congress had recently learnt the work of an automobile mechanic — an apparent reference to Rahul Gandhi’s visit to a bike repair shop at Delhi’s Karol Bagh. “The Congress has recently learnt the work of an auto mechanic, so they know what alignment is. But the alignment in the alliance has gone awry.” the Prime Minister said, referring to troubles within INDIA bloc months ahead of polls.

Doubling down on his dynasty politics charge, the Prime Minister defended his colleagues Rajnath Singh and Amit Shah from counter-attacks from the Opposition. While Rajnath Singh’s son is an Uttar Pradesh MLA, Mr Shah’s son is the secretary of Board of Cricket Control in India.

“When a family runs a party and preference is given to a family, that is parivaarvaad. Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah do not run a party. For the country’s democracy, dynasty politics is a cause of concern. If two or 10 people from a family progress, I respect that, but here a family runs a party,” he said.

Mr Modi reiterated his promise of pushing the Indian economy forward. This time, instead of putting a figure to it, he said the economy would be the world’s third largest in his third term. “The world is influenced by India. G20 summit is a testament to this. In our third term…India will be the third largest economy in the world and this is Modi’s Guarantee,’ the Prime Minister said.

“When we say that we’ll become the third largest economy, the Opposition says it will happen on its own, nothing big. I want to tell the youth how it is done and what is the government’s role in this,” PM Modi said.

Replying to the Opposition’s remarks on ED raids, he said, “10 years ago, the Parliament demanded action on the scams rampant in the country. Now you are angry that corrupt are facing action. You are defending the accused.” He added that by Jan dhan accounts, his government had deleted fraudulent accounts saving Rs 30 lakh crores of taxpayers.

Fuming at the defence of culprits, he asks, “How can you praise those who are convicted and are out on parole? Those who are accused will face probe. The agencies are independent and are investigating, while judiciary decides their fate. My war on corruption will continue. Whoever steals from India will have to return it.”

The Prime Minister also attacked former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, declaring the Congress had “never trusted India’s potential.” “Nehru said, ‘In India there is no habit of working hard (like) Europeans, Americans.’ This shows Nehru belittled Indians…” Mr Modi declared.

Mr Modi’s attacks on the Congress are significant given the party is, nominally, the head of the INDIA bloc formed in July last year, which is supposed to unite the opposition in a bid to defeat the BJP. The INDIA bloc, however, has struggled to overcome seat-sharing problems, with key members – like the Trinamool, the AAP, and the Samajwadi Party, challenging the Congress citing the national party’s abysmal record in recent elections. In fact, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar – seen as a founding member of INDIA – last month walked out of the grouping and re-aligned with the BJP.

 

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