Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday dismissed opposition attempts at unity as an opportunity for the Bharatiya Janata Party and mocked Congress president Rahul Gandhi for hugging him in Parliament, virtually calling it clingy behaviour.
At a farmer's rally, on his third visit to politically crucial Uttar Pradesh, Modi questioned the motive behind the no-confidence motion moved by the opposition in the Lok Sabha.
"Hum karan poochtey rahe avishvas ka, karan nahi bata payey to gale pad gaye," he said.
Roughly translated, the phrase conveyed unwanted clingy behaviour: "We kept asking the reasons for their no confidence, they failed to answer but clung to my neck."
The reference was to Rahul Gandhi's gesture yesterday during the debate – walking up to the prime minister's seat in the Lok Sabha and giving him an unreciprocated hug.
Modi also played with words to assert that the Bharatiya Janata Party's election symbol -- the lotus -- will rise from the mud in the 2019 general election.
"If one dal (party) is added to another dal, then it becomes dal-dal (muck), which is favourable for the 'kamal' to bloom," he said, in an apparent reference to the opposition's unity attempts.
Modi said the opposition's bid to join hands is an opportunity for the BJP.
During his nearly 45-minute speech, Modi said the opposition was merely running after the prime minister's post while ignoring the poor, the youth and farmers.
"Are you satisfied with what happened in Lok Sabha?" he asked the people at the rally in Uttar Pradesh's sugarcane belt.
"Have you come to know who is at fault? They are not looking at the poor and the country but have their eyes only on the PM's chair," he said.
"Have I done anything wrong? I am only working for the poor and the country, fighting corruption and this is my crime," the prime minister said.
Accusing the previous governments of lacking the will to help farmers, Modi listed the decisions taken by his government for them.
It was for the first time in the country, he said, that a government has decided to allow mills to produce ethanol from molasses and sugarcane juice.
Modi said the government has hiked the fair and remunerative price of sugarcane by Rs 20 to Rs 275 per quintal for the 2018-19 marketing year, which begins in October.
Shahjahanpur is the biggest wholesale grain market and a prominent sugarcane growing district in Uttar Pradesh.
This was his third visit to the state which sends 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha in less than a month.
Barely a week ago, he addressed rallies in Varanasi, Azamgah and Mirzapur.
A large number of farmers from adjoining districts of Hardoi, Lakhimpur Kheri, Pilibhit, Sitapur, Bareilly and Badaun attended Saturday's rally, Modi's first public address after his party won the no-trust vote.
"We kept telling them that people's mandate is supreme in democracy and it will prove costly for them to go against it. But it looked that they were obsessed to teach a lesson to Modi and remove him," he said.
He said the real power in a democracy rested with the 125 crore people of the country and the Constitution.
The prime minister said he had understood the opposition party's designs and will not allow them to succeed even if the 'bicycle' (the Samajwadi Party's election symbol) teamed up with the 'elephant' (Bahujan Samaj Party).
Without taking names, he recalled former Congress prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's infamous admission of corruption in the system, when his party was in power from the panchayat to Parliament.
"Which was that 'panja' (a reference to the hand symbol of the Congress) which made one rupee turn into 15 paise," he said.
"We have found a way out and with the help of technology. The money is now directly going into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries," Modi said.
Elaborating on the his government's welfare schemes, he said 18,000 villages have been electrified and rued that even this move was condemned by some people.
"If villages remained in darkness even 70 years after Independence, who was responsible? We have decided that all households will have electricity by 2019," he said.
"We are trying to get your houses electrified but they are moving about in Parliament with the chit of no-confidence," he said.
Modi also hailed the efforts of Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government in Uttar Pradesh over the past year, saying it has won the trust of the people.
Rahul Gandhi has seriously hurt image of Indian politician before the world: Jaitley
Accusing Rahul Gandhi of "concocting" a conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron, Union Minister Arun Jaitley said the Congress president has seriously hurt the image of an Indian politician before the world at large.
Participating in the debate on 'no-confidence motion' in the Lok Sabha, Gandhi said that Macron told him that there was no binding secrecy clause in the Rafale deal.
The statement was denied by the French government.
"Rahul Gandhi, by concocting a conversation with President Macron, has lowered his own credibility and seriously hurt the image of an Indian politician before the world at large," Jaitley said in a Facebook post.
The minister also hit out at the Congress president accusing him of trivialising the no-confidence motion debate stressing "facts are always sacrosanct".
"None should ever trivialise the debate. Those who desire to be prime minister never blend ignorance, falsehood and acrobatics."
In the post titled "Frivolity and the No Confidence Motion", Jaitley said the lead participants in the debate are normally senior political leaders. They are expected to raise the level of political discourse.
"A Vote of No Confidence against the Government is a serious business. It is not an occasion for frivolity," he said.
The minister said if a participant in the debate happens to be a president of a national political party nourishing prime ministerial aspirations, every word he speaks should be precious. His facts should convey credibility.
Stating that Gandhi missed a great opportunity, Jaitley said "if this was his best argument for 2019, God help his party".
Attacking Gandhi, Jaitley said his lack of understanding is not only confined to basic issues but also to the niceties of protocol.
"One should never misquote a conversation with a Head of Government or a Head of State. You do it once, serious people will be reluctant to speak to you or speak in your presence," the minister said.
On Gandhi's accusation about secrecy of the Rafale fighter jet deal, Jaitley said the UPA government itself had entered into the secrecy pact.
"Rahul has repeatedly shown that he is ignorant of facts. But to insist on disclosure of financial details, which indirectly involves the disclosures of the strategic equipment on the aircraft, is to hurt national interest. Cost gives away a clue to the weaponry in the aircraft," Jaitley said.
He said there is no minister who either desires to change or is constitutionally entitled to change the Constitution of India.
Referring to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Jaitley said the last Indian politician who wanted the power to change the Constitution was Rahul's grandmother and "she too failed".
Taking a dig at Gandhi, he said hallucinations can give momentary pleasure to a person.
"Therefore, to hallucinate after an embarrassing performance that he has won future election or to hallucinate that he is the reincarnation of Mark Antony being complemented by friends and foes alike, may give him self-satisfaction but for serious observers it is more than just self-praise – in fact a serious problem.
"Even in dynasties many successors remind you of the virtues of their predecessors. Yesterday, I reread two of Panditji's (former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru) legendary speeches -- ‘Tryst with Destiny' and ‘Light has gone out of Lives',” Jaitley said.