The Congress on Tuesday tore into the agenda outlined by President Pranab Mukherjee in his address saying it is repackaging of work done by the United Progressive Alliance and asked the Narendra Modi government to implement the promises made without trumpeting and "arrogance".
The Congress, which has been reduced to 44 members in the Lok Sabha, told the government it will keep on the pressure to ensure implementation of people-oriented programmes irrespective of the small number of members it has in the House.
In this context, Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge invoked Mahabharta and said though Pandavas were few in number as compared to Kauravas, still they could not be defeated.
Amid thumping of desks, including by Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Kharge expressed confidence that the party will bounce back to power and the National Democratic Alliance should not think that it will continue to be in power forever.
Speaking on the Motion of Thanks to the President's address, which he supported, Kharge commented point by point on the new government's agenda and highlighted achievements of the previous UPA government over the last ten years.
"Nothing new has been said...we need to put the record straight. Modi only repackages what is already done...All these things have been repackaged in the name of Modi," Kharge said in his 45-minute speech, which was appreciated by Sonia Gandhi as well as Rahul Gandhi.
Kharge said the BJP is good at marketing things and emphasised that talks alone would not help in filling the stomach of poor people.
"Prachar achha hai...Agar kisi cheez ka marketing karma hai toh BJP se seekh lo...Sirf marketing and packaging pe
nahe chalta (You are good campaigners and one should learn marketing skills from the BJP...but you cannot run the country by merely marketing and packaging)," he said.
Asking the government not to have "arrogance" because of its big mandate in the Lok Sabha election, Kharge said it should deliver as "only announcements will not work".
Asking the government to shun arrogance, Kharge said the BJP got only about 31 per cent of the total votes.
"What is the percentage of your (BJP) votes (in the Lok Sabha elections?) You have got only 31.32 per cent votes... It shows that about 69 per cent of electorate are against your ideology," he said.
Rebutting criticism about the Congress having only 44 members in the Lok Sabha, Kharge referred to the Mahabharta epic underlining that Pandavas emerged victorious despite the Kauravas having more numbers. "Kaurav ka kitna bhi sankhya ho ...Pandav ney haare...," he said.
Listing out various welfare programmes, including Food Security Act brought out by the UPA government, Kharge wondered why the BJP was still asking what has been done in the last 65 years.
The Congress brought green revolution and in Gujarat it was not Modi but the Congress that brought about white revolution, he said.
"As you have come in large numbers, you should serve the people and not just make tall claims," he noted. He warned that if the government misled people on developmental issues, "they (people) will not forgive you".
Referring to media reports that BJP-ruled Rajasthan has changed labour laws to bring in more investments, Kharge said the BJP is in favour of the rich and not the poor.
Kharge's remark drew sharp reaction from the treasury benches with Arjun Meghwal, a BJP member from Rajasthan, demanding that it should be removed from the records.
Referring to the recent murder of a techie in Pune, he said the government's handling of law and order has to be seen in the coming days.
Kharge welcomed the new members and appreciated the BJP for continuing with the practice of appointing a woman as Speaker. Expressing disappointment over BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy's speech on the President's address, Kharge said it was more of election talk and smacked of politics.
Rudy should have spoken about development issues and those pertaining to the President's address, he noted.
After Kharge concluded his speech, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi walked up to him and congratulated him.
Several members including SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav also congratulated Kharge for his articulation of views.
Image: Congress chief Sonia Gandhi