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Last Modified: Wed, Feb 07 2018. 11 46 PM IST

Narendra Modi, in scathing attack, says India paying for Congress’s sins

Narendra Modi accuses Congress of dividing India for electoral gains; Rahul Gandhi hits back, calling it a campaign speech

A file photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha. Photo: PTI
Gyan VarmaAnuja

New Delhi:Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday launched a scathing attack against the Congress, saying India was paying for the “sins” of the party and revived the corruption debate. He also accused the Congress of dividing the nation for its own electoral gains.

Modi gave two speeches in response to the motion of thanks on the President’s address in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. In both speeches, Modi sought to corner the Congress on issues of corruption, policymaking and dynastic politics.

In his speech in the Lok Sabha, Modi said that while Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda and former president Pranab Mukherjee had spoken about a “New India”, the Congress had used democracy to lie to the people. He added that it was for the people to decide the fate of the party.

“It is in your character that the division of India happened. The country was broken into pieces and you sowed the poison. After 70 years of independence, not a day passes when the 125 crore Indians do not get punished for your sins. You broke India into pieces and you did it keeping elections in mind, in haste and closing doors of Parliament,” he said.

“You wasted all your time singing paeans to one family. You forgot India’s history and you put all your energy to ensure that the country remembered only one family… if you had worked with some responsibility, the people of this country were capable enough of taking India to new heights,” Modi said, adding that if the right direction had been kept and right policies followed, the country would have gone way ahead of where it is now.

His speech was interspersed with sloganeering and disruptions by opposition members.

Responding to Modi’s comments in the Lok Sabha, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said that it was a “political and campaign speech” that had focused on the opposition.

“The prime minister spoke nothing about employment for youth; he had promised 2 crore jobs. The talk of farmers, giving them right prices and loan waivers —the PM instead spoke about bees and bamboo. This is not about that, this is about giving them the right price, their future and their protection,” Gandhi told reporters.

“Each time, speeches happen about Congress, its leaders, about Narendra Modi. There are three-four issues in front of the country. What future farmers have, how the youth will get jobs, whether theft happened in Rafale (fighter aircraft) deal or not,” he added.

Former Congress president Sonia Gandhi also responded to Modi’s Lok Sabha speech and told reporters: “PM said nothing new. He is repeating old things. People are interested about their jobs, they want to know about their future.”

The tussle between the top leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress had started during the bitter political campaign for the Gujarat elections and is likely to continue as both parties lock horns in a direct contest in several state elections later this year.

In his Lok Sabha speech, that lasted more than 90 minutes, Modi blamed the policies initiated by Congress for the present economic situation in the country. He said the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh for the creation of Telangana was taken up by the Congress for electoral gains.

“It (bifurcation) happened even when Parliament was not in order and without respecting feelings of people from Andhra Pradesh. We were also in favour of creation of Telangana and are still in favour of its progress,” said Modi.

“I see each time the opposition criticizes us, they are low on facts and instead harp about how things were in their time. They play the same cassette again and again. Countries which got independent after us, they have progressed very fast. We should accept that we did not progress and you broke India into pieces and despite that the country stood with you,” he added.

In the Rajya Sabha, the PM attacked the Congress and accused it of not wanting a “New India”, preferring instead an “India of Emergency, Bofors and chopper scam”. He also spoke on the issues of achieving consensus on triple talaq, and simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly elections, adding that there was need to have wider discussions on these issues.

Topics: Narendra ModiCongressLok SabhaParliamentModi speech in Lok Sabha

First Published: Wed, Feb 07 2018. 01 14 PM IST

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