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Modi Tears into Congress, “Party Divided and Confused”

Modi Tears into Congress, “Party Divided and Confused”

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Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, Feb 10: Largely disappointing the agitating farmers squatting on the borders of Delhi, prime minister Narendra Modi refrained from shedding any new light on the government’s stand on the contentious farm laws and claimed that the “uproar and noise” against farm laws was “part of a well-thought-out strategy to hide the truth.”

Replying to the debate in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday on the motion of thanks to the president, Modi launched a scathing attack on the Congress claiming the party to be “divided and confused.”

“Congress, which ruled the country for almost 60 years, has taken different stands in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. A divided and confused party like this can do no good to country,” he said.

Even while claiming that the farmers’ agitation was “pious,” Modi criticized the Congress for “creating noise in the House” on the issue. The “noises and attempts to obstruct are part of a well-thought-out strategy. The strategy is to keep making noises otherwise the lies and rumours will be exposed, truth will come out and things will get difficult for them. You won’t be able to win people’s confidence like that,” he said hitting out at the Congress whose members had walked out of the House shouting slogans for the repeal of the farm laws as the prime minister began his address.

Accusing the party of duplicity, Modi said, “There are people who talk the right things. But this same section, when it comes to doing the right things, fail to convert words into action. Those who talk big on electoral reforms oppose One Nation One Election. They speak of gender justice but oppose Triple Talaq.”

Reiterating his accusation of the “professional agitators,” ‘andolanjeevi,’ as he had called them in the Rajya Sabha, the prime minister said, “I consider the Kisan Andolan to be pious. But, when Andolanjeevis hijack protest, showcase photos of those jailed for serious offences, does it serve any purpose? Not allowing toll plazas to work, destroying telecom towers- does it serve pious protests?” he asked.

“Three farm laws were brought in by government, these agricultural reforms are important and necessary. Congress MPs in House debated on colour of the laws (black/white), it would have been better if they had debated on the content and intent of the laws,” Modi said.

Despite facing a wide-range of criticism for calling a section of the farm agitators as “andolanjeevi,” parasites who thrives on supporting one agitation of the other, Modi refrained from using the forum to amend his remarks and instead came down heavily on those expressing doubts about the intention of the private sector in using the farm laws to their own advantage. The private sector, he said, was as important as the public sector for the development of the country. It is not right to malign them. Wealth creators are important for the country. “To use improper words against the private sector may have got votes for a few people in the past but those times are gone. The culture of abusing the private sector is not acceptable any longer. We cannot keep insulting our youth like this,” Modi said.

Turning to Corona pandemic and India’s handling of the situation, the prime minister claimed that India was emerging as a world leader for effective crisis management. “New world order is emerging in post-Covid world. We have to decide if we have to be spectators, or emerge as world leader. India has to be self-reliant, empowered and capable if it has to emerge as a leader in the world,” Modi said.

“We’re knocking at the doors of 75 years of Independence. It’s a matter of pride for every Indian and an occasion to move forward. We may be in any corner or belong to any strata of society but we must make a new resolve that where do we want to take India at 100 years of freedom,” he further said. Modi also congratulated the state governments saying Covid-19 gave an opportunity to enshrine the values of cooperating federalism.

The Prime Minister had replied to the motion of thanks in the Rajya Sabha on Monday in which he talked about a range of issues, including the farmers’ protest near Delhi. He urged the protesting farmers to avoid being misled on farm laws while assuring that the minimum support price or MSP will stay.

The MSP has emerged as one of the key issues with the farmers claiming it will be abolished putting them at the mercy of big corporate houses. They have been demanding a law as guarantee on MSP.

And though the farm leaders had rejected his offer to give the “three bills a chance” and maintained that if the MSP “has come to stay” as was claimed by the prime minister what was harm in giving it statutory guarantee, Modi refrained from giving any assurance on the issue.

He reiterated that after the three bills were enacted in September, 2020, the farmers across the country had benefitted and the prices of crops had gone up. “After the Laws relating to agriculture were passed by Parliament – no Mandi has shut. Likewise, MSP has remained. Procurement on MSP has remained. These facts can’t be ignored,” the PM emphasised.

The former minister in his cabinet, Hasimrat Kaur of Shiromani Akali Dal, the party which walked out of the NDA on the farm bills, regretted that the prime minister made no mention about the farmers who died since the dharna began in November. “I think the need of the hour is to listen to what farmer wants. PM said that in Punjab, ministers went and spoke to farmers. I wish he’d tell which farmer was spoken to because as far as I recall, the only minister who went to Punjab called farmers hooligans.”

“It is unfortunate that he said nothing for the 150 people who died (during farmers’ agitation). Where would the ministers have gone in Punjab when they couldn’t go to the borders of Delhi in the last 75 days?” she asked.

Lok Sabha later passed the motion to thank President for his address to both Houses of Parliament.

 

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