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PM Modi uses 2014 election-style speech in Parliament to tear into Congress

zIndicates one five-year term too little to fulfill promises and to correct legacy issues of long years of 'corrupt and divisive' Congress rule

Archis Mohan  |  New Delhi 

Congress split Andhra like it divided India for political gains: PM Modi

While senior ministers in the government have ruled out an early election, the Prime Minister on Wednesday launched an attack on the and the party that was reminiscent of his public speeches during his election campaign in the run up to the 2014 polls.

Irrespective or whether or not the elections are advanced to end of 2018, the PM’s reply in the to the motion of thanks to the President’s address was akin to an election speech.

The over hour-long speech, amid much slogan shouting by the Opposition and ally (TDP), provided sufficient hints about the PM’s electoral narrative in the run up to the polls, the assembly elections in Karnataka in April-May, and the assembly elections in the key northern states of Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

The PM attributed much of the maladies in the country to the years of rule. He said the party had a golden opportunity in the years after the independence to take the country forward. However, it busied itself in serving one family, the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, instead of the country.

In his speech, the PM seemed conscious that the is disappointed with this year's He also responded to the criticism his government has faced on the question of its “failure” to fulfill to commitment to generate 20 million jobs a year and double farmer incomes.

Modi repeatedly brought up the issue of He said the was now opposed his government’s policies, particularly implementation of and goods and service tax, because these steps have hurt the interests of middlemen.

“When the corrupt and middlemen are out of work, obviously the will be unhappy,” the PM said.

Without naming president Rahul Gandhi, who was sitting in the House, the PM alleged the leader had indulged in defaming the country during his visits abroad. “You were talking to the Chinese when the country was fighting the battle of Doklam…You questioned the bravery of our soldiers by questioning the surgical strike,” Modi said.

The PM accused the of having been smallminded in governing the country during its long years in power. He didn’t spare first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and blamed Mahatma Gandhi, but without naming the father of the nation, for preferring Nehru to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, as the first prime minister of independent India.

However, all through his speech, the PM was harangued by (TDP) members. The members had trooped into the well of the House to shout slogans to demand that the government fulfill its promises made to

The PM said the government carved out Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh seamlessly, but the UPA-led government made a mess of the division of from because its objective was not interest but winning elections.

Digging into history, the PM sought to attribute the problems in on to Rajiv Gandhi, who as a newly appointed general secretary had landed at the Begumpet airport where he had insulted the then chief minister of the state T Anjaiah. Modi stressed that Anjaiah was a Dalit, and the insult to the chief minister led to the birth of NT Rama Rao’s TDP, which threw out the in the subsequent election on the plank of Telugu self-respect.

On the mounting non-performing assets of public sector banks, the PM said this was a legacy issue his government has inherited from the Congress-led UPA. He said the UPA government made banks give loans to its “favourites”.

“You will have to give an account (of your evil deeds) to the country,” Modi said. He criticised the Congress’s “hit and run politics”. “The lotus (BJP’s election symbol) will bloom brighter the more mud you throw on us,” the PM said. members gave him a standing ovation as he concluded his 90-minute long speech.

Earlier in his speech, the PM dwelled on the issue of for significant time. At a time when the has asked him questions on the fighter jet deal, the PM said his government, within months of coming to power, had renegotiated a gas supply deal with Qatar and save the country Rs 80 billion (Rs 8,000 crore).

Modi said it was during the last few years that India’s judiciary has sent four former chief minister in prison on charges of “It is our commitment that people who have looted the country will have to return the money to the country. Nothing can deter from fulfilling this commitment,” he said.

The PM said attempts have been made to spread misinformation and pessimism in the middle classes. He said the five per cent entry level in India is the lowest across the world. Modi said the desired better infrastructure, roads, schools and colleges for its children, and his government was trying to deliver that. The middle classes have taken to the to express their disappointment at the Modi government’s Budget.

Modi identified the benefits of the He detailed the steps taken to create employment, but seemed on the defensive. He said it was now an era of entrepreneurship, not about government providing jobs. Modi repeated the claim from the (EPFO) that 7 million jobs have been created in 2017, which has been questioned by the party. He also pointed to data from state governments, like Odisha, to claim job generation.

The PM listed the achievements of his government across the sectors – road construction, laying of railway tracks, electricity generation, aviation, etc. The PM accused the opposition of playing on the issue of farm distress, and listed the several schemes his government has initiated to benefit farmers.

First Published: Thu, February 08 2018. 02:10 IST
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