Opposition Trinamool Congress today took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi claiming he was suffering from the "silence syndrome" that had hit his predecessor Manmohan Singh and was facing the problem of "two power centres", one of them being in Nagpur.
Resuming discussion on the Motion of Thanks to the President for his address, Sultan Ahmed (TMC) appealed to the Prime Minister to take everyone including the minorities and the Dalits along, reminding Modi that the nationalism propagated by Subhash Chandra Bose was "inclusive".
Ahmed, whose speech saw occasional protests from the treasury benches, said Modi had come to power raising lot of expectations but his government has been afflicted with "policy paralysis" within two years, noting that the charge used to be levelled by BJP against the Manmohan Singh regime.
He said it was strange that Modi did not speak a single word on the unprecedented violence and arson in Haryana in the wake of the Jat stir inspite of the fact that the troubled state was just 30 km away from the national capital.
Ahmed said the Prime Minister boasted of a 56-inch chest, but kept quiet on the Jat youth unrest that has resulted in damage to property worth Rs 34,000 crore. Same was his attitude when the Patidar agitation struck Gujarat, he added.
"Manmohan Singh's weakness of keeping mum has now hit Modi", he claimed adding that the Prime Minister has hardly any time between his frequent foreign tours.
He said since the Prime Minister kept silent, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had to step out to hold consultations on the Haryana stir, a charge stoutly denied by the Home Minister who was present in the House.
Ahmed said he used to listen to PM's radio programme 'Man Ki Baat' in 2014 and 2015, but has stopped now. "Now no one listens to it. It is all bunkum (bakwas)".
Attacking the government for not fulfilling the promise of providing jobs to the youth, he said the unrest among the youth was growing day by day for want of employment, but hardly anything was being done. The Ministry of Skill Development which is expected to make youths learn more skills is just a "fraud," he alleged.
Urging the Prime Minister to look after the minorities and the Dalits too, he said Modi, like Manmohan Singh, faces the problem of two power centres.
Modi was one power centre while the other was the RSS in Nagpur which tells others in BJP how much leeway can be granted to the Prime Minister, the TMC member claimed.
Ahmed wanted the Prime Minister to learn from Mamata
Banerjee's governance, saying she has set an example of how to work for all including the dalits and the minorities.
He also said that Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu's 70-minute speech on the Motion of Thanks was "sheer flattery" of the Prime Minister.
The TMC MP said the problem of the central government was that it was "not working towards winning hearts."
He said the recent remarks of an Additional Secretary of the National Commission for Minorities that he spends sleepless nights in view of the current situation were a matter of concern and added that the officer had spoken in the presence of the Minister of Minority Affairs.
Participating in the debate, BJD's B Mahtab said the state should not indulge in everything and made a veiled attack on the government over the recent incidents at Jawaharlal Nehru University and Hyderabad university.
"When there is something at a university, the state interferes ... Why can't the vice chancellors be allowed to take decisions," he wondered.
Without taking names of the universities or related incidents, Mahtab said interference by the state was "actually weakening state craft."
The BJD leader said the secret files released by the government about Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose does not reveal anything that was not known.
Over the years, various governments have maintained secrecy about Netaji's disappearance and asked why has it been so. "Is there something else?... Whatever may be, it (such secrecy) is sad," Mahtab asked.
Besides, he said there was "bungled" response to the terror attack at Pathankot and it was an alarming situation as not only the borders but also an airbase was breached, he said and sought a response from the government.
On steps taken to deal with terror, he said there should be parliamentary oversight and an independent federal commission for accountability be also set up.
Touching upon rising non-performing assets in the country's banking system, Mahtab said those who are not paying back the loans are not "wilful defaulter" but "skilful defaulters".
Wondering whether anyone was being held accountable for
the bad loans problems at banks, the BJD leader said even the Reserve Bank of India did not raise an alarm over the situation.
He also said that NITI Aayog has been a "non-starter" and wondered what it had done since it was set up in 2015. "Are they (NITI Aayog) policy advisors or quasi-political liasons," he asked.
Mahtab said the joke doing rounds in the political circles was "whether this government is UPA 3 or NDA 2".
Shiv Sena's Anandrao Adsul appreciated various initiatives of the government, including Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana and other schemes.
He urged the Opposition to appreciate the steps of the government that are good and not just criticise everything.
Adsul also cautioned that irrigation schemes would not help farmers unless enough water is provided.
"When we talk of India, we talk of India after 1947, after the amalgamation of princely states into the Union of India," Mahtab said.
He noted that the idea of provinces enjoying autonomy, ample power, limited sovereignty was rejected by the leaders themselves when India became a dominion in 1947 and the Constituent Assembly deliberated and decided on how the union of states would be administered.
"Therefore, it is imperative to remember very clearly that our Parliament has resolved that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. Nobody, I mean nobody, should cultivate a thought of sovereignty of any province that would mean nothing but sedition," he said.