The opposition on Wednesday lambasted the government in the Lok Sabha for making "tall promises" which were "difficult to achieve" to garner votes and asked the Bharatiya Janata Party-led ruling dispensation to explain how they would fulfill the aspirations of the people.
I am just warning you (government). You should not be so arrogant. We have earlier seen such electoral victory and have fought those governments too -- whether of Indira Gandhi or Rajiv Gandhi. We fought all of them. I am just reminding you," Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said.
Speaking on the Motion of Thanks to the President for his address, Yadav said, "We fought the imposition of Emergency. After 1971, we saw 1977 (when Indira Gandhi was defeated by Janata Party). We also saw 1984 when Rajiv Gandhi stormed to power after Indira Gandhi's assassination and then 1989 (when Congress was ousted)."
Amid interruptions from the treasury benches as he took the BJP to task on its poll promises, the SP chief said, "You have made tall promises on several issues. You have even promised to take back Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and the territory taken over by China. Tell us by when will you do this. We will support you."
Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif, Yadav said, "Did you ask him to return the land (PoK)? What were the issues you discussed? Will you keep it a secret or inform Parliament?"
He and senior Congress leader Amarinder Singh also took the government to task for making "tall" promises to contain price rise and unemployment, with Yadav claiming that "since your government has come to power, prices have gone up again and we thought you will fulfill the promise of ending inflation."
The BJP has also promised pucca houses for all in 10 years "but how will you implement it, we want to know. You have raised the people's expectations very high, but how will you meet them?", the SP supremo said, as he was repeatedly interrupted by BJP members.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan had to ask members from the treasury benches several times not to disrupt Yadav's speech.
"If all the promises you have made are fulfilled, then India will be the top-most nation," Yadav said, adding the BJP had used the "socialist slogan of 'roti, kapda aur makaan' (food, clothing and shelter) to garner votes".
The SP chief, however, praised the government for giving emphasis on Hindi and other regional languages and said, "We will congratulate you, if you accomplish this."
Terming the BJP government's agenda as "old wine in new bottle", Amarinder said almost all the issues raised were "the same programmes started by the Congress earlier which have been brought in now with new names." While similarities have been drawn to the Congress strength of 44 and BJP's 280 in the 16th Lok Sabha with "Pandavas (five) and Kauravas (100), there are so many other such examples such as the single legion of Julius Caesar's triumph over the Gauls," he said.
The Congress leader wanted to know when the government would get the Women's Reservation Bill adopted and how the promises of developing 100 cities in five years, 24X7 power supply and toilets to every village would be implemented or how poverty eliminated as promised.
Some BJP members rose in protest when Singh said "While the recent monsoon failure is due to 'El Nino' effect, some others say it is 'El Modi' effect because when someone does something wrong, as it happened in Gujarat, such things happen."
"What happened in Gujarat," shouted BJP's Rajiv Pratap Rudy, with others from his party rising on their feet and shouting. Undeterred, Singh said "Why, haven't you heard of Ishrat Jahan", provoking more BJP members to shout back.
He also made a fervent plea for concrete steps to check "large-scale drug abuse" in Punjab and demanded arrest of drug dealers and smugglers instead of the youth who had fallen victims to narcotics.
Singh pointed out that 'one rank, one pension' was implemented by the Congress-led government while so many "good laws" like Right to Information, Right to Education, Food Security Act and National Rural Employment Guarantee Act did not find a place in the President's address.
Image: Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav speaks in the Lok Sabha in New Delhi. Photograph: PTI Photo