Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday took a jibe at the Congress and claimed that the party see things from the perspective of two time periods of BC and AD – Before Congress and After Dynasty. He was responding to the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address in Parliament.
He claimed the Opposition, by hating him, has begun to hate the nation, the Hindustan Times reported. “That is why their leaders go to London and do press conferences to show India in bad light,” he added.
Modi was referring to a press conference held in London on January 21 by a United States-based “cyber expert”, who had claimed that the 2014 General Elections had been rigged. Syed Shuja had alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party had hacked Electronic Voting Machines using a modulator that transmits military-grade frequency.
The people of India do not want a coalition government, he said, referring to the alliance of Opposition parties that will challenge the BJP in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. “People have seen the work a government with an absolute majority can do,” he said. “They have seen our work. They do not want a ‘mahamilavat’ [adulterated] government of those who recently gathered in Kolkata.”
Modi was referring to the United India rally organised by the Trinamool Congress and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata on January 19.
Modi alleged that the Congress had attempted to scuttle the Rafale fighter jet deal signed with France. “Every deal negotiated under the Congress regime had the presence of middlemen,” he said, adding that the Congress did not want a strong Air Force.
“You [Congress] want this Rafale deal to be cancelled, on whose behest?” said Modi. “In our neighbourhood, everyone is building war capabilities, why didn’t we do it in all these years? This is criminal negligence.”
The prime minister accused the Opposition party of neglecting the needs of the armed forces and of interfering with national security. “The Army had demanded 1,86,000 bulletproof jackets in 2009, but the Congress did not buy a single one in five years, and these same people questions our surgical strikes,” said Modi, referring to the operation conducted across the Line of Control in 2016.
Modi responded to allegations that his government has destroyed the country’s institutions, and said the Congress was to be blamed. He claimed that the Opposition party had tarnished the Army’s honour, criticised the Planning Commission, raised doubts about the Election Commission’s sanctity, and also “tried to scare the judiciary in the name of impeachment”.
He pointed out that the Congress, which dismissed the Communist government in Kerala in 1959, was now talking about respecting institutions. “So, what sanctity?” Modi asked. What respect of institutions? When they criticise me, they remind me of a saying ‘ulta chor chowkidar ko daate’ [the thief is rebuking the ‘security guard’, or Modi]. The Congress is unable to digest that a common man like Modi is challenging a dynasty.”
He added: “You know what is my crime for them [Congress]? That a person born to a poor family is challenging their sultanate.”
Modi claimed that Mahatma Gandhi himself wanted the Congress to be dissolved. “That’s why I am doing this work, the dream of a ‘Congress-mukt [free]’ India is not mine, it was the dream of Mahatma Gandhi,” he claimed.
The prime minister also spoke about first-time voters. “I want to congratulate the crores of youngsters who will be voting for the first time this year,” The Hindu quoted him as saying. “Voting is an important process – you will be upholding our democratic process.”
He also listed out his government’s achievements in terms of internet data rates and in the startup ecosystem. “It is trust and optimism that will take our nation forward,” Modi said. “We are not those who run away from challenges. We face the challenges and work to fulfil people’s aspirations.”
Modi said that his government is known for its honesty and transparency and for taking action against the corrupt. “A crackdown on corruption is the focus as we are accountable to the people of India,” he said, adding that as many as 99 agricultural schemes stuck during the UPA era were being completed now.
Modi added that his BJP-led government had amended the Constitution to introduce 10% reservation for the economically weak among the upper castes, which would give the poor youth a chance to realise their dreams. He added that the government was also working to provide affordable healthcare to the people and had reduced the prices of stents, knee surgeries, and generic medicines to benefit the middle class.
Modi questioned the Congress party for raising issues of joblessness, claiming that more jobs were being created in the unorganised sector. Modi said the transport sector had witnessed the maximum job growth, with 6,35,000 professionals added in four years.
Modi claimed there was “historic” price rise when the Congress-ruled UPA was in power, adding that the current government had managed to keep prices in check. “Price rise and the Congress are a team,” he said. “Today, 99 items are below the 18% GST slab. Educations loans have also become cheaper.”