Modi attacks Congress, seeks Opposition support
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday again launched a blistering attack on the Congress, but at the same time, sought opposition's support to make India a $5 trillion economy.
Speaking in the Rajya Sabha on the Motion of Thanks to President Ram Nath Kovind's address to Parliament, Modi took on the Congress in the wake of the Lok Sabha elections that has left the main opposition party with only 52 seats.
Modi's address -- a day after he spoke in the Lok Sabha -- was heard in silence by grim-faced opposition members while NDA members repeatedly thumped their desks.
"We know that we don't have the majority in the Rajya Sabha," he said. "But the Lok Sabha decision should be respected in the Rajya Sabha as the mandate of the people".
Modi pointed out that in the last five years, some bills lapsed because the government did not have the numbers in the Rajya Sabha. "We need to get rid of this bottleneck," he said.
He quoted former President Pranab Mukherjee as saying that the majority's mandate was to rule and the minority's mandate was to oppose, but nobody had the mandate to obstruct.
The Prime Minister said India needed to be a $5 trillion economy. "We need to run the country, and we need your support." He took on the Congress, saying it was spreading a myth that if it loses an election, then it was a loss for the country.
The Congress, he said, was consumed by pride and preferred to look outward without doing any introspection.
"In 17 states, the Congress could not win even one seat. And it claimed that the country has lost the election. Such statements hurt people who voted in the general election. This is also an insult to the people".
He took a jibe at opposition parties which claimed that farmers were bribed for votes for a mere Rs 2,000 worth of government schemes.
"The farmer is a building block of this country. They say that farmers' votes were bought. This is an insult to 15 crore farmer families in the country."
Modi said the lynching of a young man by a mob in Jharkhand had pained him but said it was unfair to blame the entire state for it.
"The lynching has pained me. It has saddened others too. But some people in the Rajya Sabha are calling Jharkhand a hub of lynching. Is this fair? Why are they insulting a state?"
Tabrez Ansari, 22, died in a hospital, after he was thrashed by a mob at Dhatkidih village on June 20 on suspicion of theft. He was also forced to shout "Jai Shri Ram" slogans.
The Prime Minister also attacked opposition parties for questioning the electronic voting machines (EVMs) for their defeat.
He said those who were against the EVMs were anti-technology. "Some people kept talking about EVMs in this House... There was a time when we had only two MPs in Parliament. People mocked at us but we worked hard and won the trust of the people. We did not make excuses," he said.
The Prime Minister said there have been many elections held with EVMs which have given opportunities to various parties to govern different states. "Then why question EVMs today?" Those opposing them are not only opposed to EVMs but also have problems with technology, digital transactions, Aadhaar, GST, and Bhim App. Why such negativity?".
"My friends in the Congress have not been able to digest our victory. They have not been able to accept defeat. I do not consider this to be a healthy sign in a democracy," he said.
The Prime Minister also hit out at the Congress for remembering Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel only during the Gujarat elections and said had he been the first Prime Minister, the issue of Jammu and Kashmir would have been resolved.
He slammed the Congress for demanding an "old India."
"The Congress wants their old India where a Cabinet decision was torn by a leader at a press conference, where an Indian naval ship was used as a personal taxi, and where scams were visible everywhere. The people are not ready to accept the old India," he said.
He also accused the Congress for opposing the National Register of Citizens, saying they cannot claim partial credit as former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had accepted it in the Assam Accord.
"Please be reminded that it was Rajiv Gandhi, who first agreed to the NRC in Assam accord. The Supreme Court intervened and asked us to implement it," he said.
The Prime MInister said that for the BJP it was not a question of vote-bank. "We will implement it with complete sincerity," he added.
The Prime Minister also broke his silence over the death of children in Bihar due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) and described it as "unfortunate and a matter of shame for us".
"We have to take this seriously. I am in constant touch with the state government and I am sure we will collectively come out of this crisis soon," he said.
"The need of the hour is to strengthen Ayushman Bharat. We want our poor to get the best quality and affordable medical treatment," PM Modi added. IANS