Updated, Feb. 07. 2024. 8.56 PM.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a potshot at Congress saying he prays that the opposition party saves at least 40 seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
He made these remarks referring to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee’s reported comments that the grand old party will not even cross the 40 seat mark in the General Elections. Mr. Modi was replying in the Rajya Sabha on the discussion on the Motion of Thanks to President Droupadi Murmu’s address to the joint sitting of both the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday. In an apparent attack on former Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Mr. Modi alleged that Congress has made a start-up for its so-called Yuvraj, but he turned out to be a non-starter. Stating that Congress’ thoughts have become out-dated, Mr. Modi took a dig at it saying the main opposition party does not have guarantees of its leaders and policies but is questioning his government’s guarantees. He accused Congress of undermining democracy for power during its rule by dismissing democratically elected governments and now preaching about democracy and federalism. Mr. Modi also accused it of creating narratives to divide the country by promoting North-South debate.
Mr. Modi also accused Congress of being anti- Dalit, backward, and tribal of the country. He alleged that Congress and its allies have always had difficulty in giving greater participation to SC, ST and OBC communities and they left no stone unturned to destroy Baba Saheb B R Ambedkar’s ideas. He highlighted that it was the BJP supported government which had given Bharat Ratna to Baba Saheb. He also emphasised that for the first time in the country, the NDA government made an Adivasi daughter the President of India. He also alleged that former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had once written a letter to Chief Ministers in which he had spoken against reservation.
In his reply, Prime Minister Modi asserted that his government has taken bold and big policy decisions resulting in India becoming the fifth largest economy in the world. Raising questions over the economic situation of the country during the UPA regime, the Prime Minister pointed out that Indian economy was in the Fragile Five category during UPA rule. He stressed that policy paralysis was the character of that government while the last ten years of his government will always be remembered for the big and decisive decisions.
Mr. Modi also listed out a series of measures taken by the government in different sectors, saying that in the last ten years, enrollments have increased and dropouts have decreased in schools and higher education. He noted that enrollment of SC, ST and OBC students in higher education has also increased.
He said, the Congress which stopped the modernisation of the country’s armies, is today giving speeches on national security and internal security. The Prime Minister also alleged Congress of allowing terrorism and separatism to flourish for its own interest. Mounting his attack on Congress, Mr. Modi pointed out that Congress remained inspired by the British and continued with symbols of slavery for decades whereas his government has abolished the signs and symbols of colonial rule.
Reacting to opposition allegations that current government policy has adversely affected the Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs), he underlined that misinformation was spread about PSUs. He observed that in 2014, the country had 234 PSUs and today, the number has risen to 254. Mr Modi added that today most of the Public Sector Units are giving record returns and the investors are showing confidence in them.
Highlighting that the vision for a Viksit Bharat in the 21st century cannot be realized with outdated perspective, Prime Minister said, ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ is not just a slogan but it is Modi’s guarantee. He said, the development of the nation lies in the development of the states. Mr Modi said, he always emphasized the importance of competitive cooperative federalism and the States should compete healthily for rapid progress.
Not satisfied with the Prime Minister’s reply, Opposition parties including Congress, DMK and Left staged a walkout from the Upper House. Later, the House adopted the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address negating the amendments moved by some opposition members.