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What Modi said in Lok Sabha on jobs, Rafale, grand alliance

Last updated on: February 07, 2019 22:49 IST

'People do not want a 'maha milavat' (highly adulterated) government of those who assembled in Kolkata.'
'Congress had left the Army handicapped. It was not in a position to carry out surgical strikes.'
'You want this Rafale deal to be cancelled, on whose behest? For which company?'

In a frontal attack on the Congress, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday alleged that those who imposed Emergency, ‘bullied’ the judiciary and insulted the Army were accusing him of destroying institutions.

"The Congress imposed Emergency, but they say Modi is destroying institutions. Congress insults Army, calls the Army chief a 'goonda' but they say Modi is destroying institutions," the PM said in a hard-hitting reply to a debate on motion of thanks to President's address in Lok Sabha.

The Congress misused Article 356 to dismiss state governments several times. Indira Gandhi herself dismissed state governments 50 times, Modi said.

In a marathon reply to the debate, the prime minister said in a poll year, leaders have compulsions to make charges but lamented that while slamming Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party, some people ‘start attacking India’.

He alleged that the Opposition’s ability to listen to the truth has diminished.

The Congress, he said, questioned the Election Commission and Electronic Voting Machines but is accusing him of destroying institutions.

"The Congress bullies the judiciary but they say Modi is destroying institutions. Congress calls Planning Commission a bunch of jokers (a reference to Rajiv Gandhi)... but Modi is destroying institutions," Modi said.

Modi compared the work under his '55-month' rule to the Congress' record of '55 years' in power, while making a re-election pitch in what was likely his last speech in the House before the general election.

The motion was passed by a voice vote following the prime minister's 100-minute reply, in which he highlighted his anti-corruption plank and targeted the opposition parties that had come together at a recent Kolkata rally saying their leaders are 'out on bail in wholesale'.

While the Congress' rule of 55 years was about 'satta bhog' (enjoying power), his government was all about 'sewa bhav' (sense of service), Modi said, adding that the opposition party's main grouse against him was that he had challenged its 'sultanate' and shaken it up despite coming from a poor family and being from outside Delhi.

"This intoxication (of power) is the reason of your problem," he added.

"I want to remind the voters of 21st century how power was enjoyed and abused for 55 years," he said, claiming the Commonwealth Games, held in India in 2010 when the Congress-led UPA was in power, were used to augment personal wealth.

Crooks and those who looted public money had ceased to be scared and his government has put in them the fear of law, he said.

"I have no baggage. I don't give favours or depend on favours from others for survival....

"Those who have looted the nation will continue to be scared of Narendra Modi," he said.

Citing his government's report card at the outset, he said India became the sixth largest economy in the world from 11th, second biggest steel producer, record producer of milk and grains and biggest consumer of internet data.

Comparing his government and previous Congress dispensations, he said the sanitation coverage is now 98 per cent compared to 40 per cent in 2014 and 13 crore new LPG connections were given compared to 12 crore allotted by 2014.

In its manifestoes in 2004, 2009 and 2014, the Congress always spoke about electrifying villages and building houses for the poor but never did it and repeated the same promises.

"The task of fulfilling these was to left to me and my government has done it," he said.

The PM also hit back at the Congress over the Rafale issue, which has been repeatedly raised by its chief Rahul Gandhi, as he alleged that the Congress did not want the Indian Air Force to be strong and asked ‘which companies are they bidding for that they are acting so shamefully’.

"Congress does not want our Air Force to become powerful. I am levelling a serious allegation," the prime minister said.

"I want to say it on the floor of Parliament that the Indian National Congress doesn't want our armed forces to be strong. They don't want our security apparatus to be strong. Which companies are they bidding for that they are acting so shamefully," he said.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi has been intensifying attack on Modi, accusing him of corruption in the multi-billion dollar jet deal with a French company.

The prime minister said that the armed forces were adversely affected due to delay in procurements under the Congress rule and its personnel did not have bullet-proof jackets, proper shoes, communication equipment or even helmets.

"You had left the Army unarmed. It was not in a position to carry out surgical strikes," he said, adding it is a great dis-service to the nation.

Modi wondered why advanced jets were not procured for 30 years when India's neighbours were equipping themselves with latest weaponry.

"The nation will not forgive you for this sin," the prime minister said.

Taking a swipe at the Congress, he said, "They are surprised that there is a defence deal without kickbacks... they assume that a defence deal cannot happen without commission."

With opposition parties joining hands to build a grand alliance against the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, he said the country has seen for 30 years such 'milawat wali' (adulterated) governments and the new combination against him is 'maha milawat' (highly adulterated).

"A healthy society keep away from adulterated food. Our healthy democracy will keep away from this maha-milawat," he said.

 

He also took a dig at the recent opposition rally in Kolkata organised by the Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee.

"People do not want a 'maha milawat' government of those who assembled in Kolkata," he said.

"A government has to work for the people of India, a government has to be sensitive to the people's aspirations. There is no room for corruption.

"We speak the truth, be it in country or outside, in Parliament or outside but your ability to listen to truth has diminished," he said, targeting the opposition.

Expressing confidence that the BJP will return to power, he took a swipe at the Congress and said it should carry on its preparations against his government so as to bring a 'no confidence' motion against it in 2023 as it had done in 2018.

As he said so, Congress leaders were heard accusing him of arrogance, to which he retorted that his confidence was driven by his party's 'sewa bhav' as this brought the BJP to power with a majority in 2014 after it had fallen to two seats in 1984 polls.

"You fell to 44 seats from over 400 due to your arrogance," he said pointing to Congress leaders in the House.

Taking a dig at Gandhi without naming him, Modi said he was 'crying' over EVMs on the day the country was discussing the budget.

"What has happened to you?" he asked.

In an apparent reference to liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya, who is wanted in cases of defrauding banks and whose extradition from London is being pursued by India, he said, "People who have fled the country are crying on Twitter that 'I had left with Rs 9,000 crore but my assets of Rs 13000 crore have been seized'".

Referring to development figures cited by the Congress' Mallikarjun Kharge to list achievements of its past governments, Modi said the opposition party's 'suffered from 'BC- before Congress' and 'AD- after dynasty'' as it believed nothing was done in the country before its advent and everything was done after the (Gandhi) dynasty came to power.

Modi referred to the two phases in years denoted in the Julian and Gregorian calendars while responding to assertions by Congress leaders on the country's achievements since Independence.

Modi said the Congress keeps bringing up 1947 like BC and AD whenever the current government speaks about its achievements since 2014 when it came to power.

"When we speak about history, we use BC and AD. We heard speeches which kept mentioning the periods from 1947 to 2014.

"BC and AD have their meanings. BC means 'Before Congress' which means there was nothing before the Congress came to power and AD 'After Dynasty' which means whatever happened was after the dynasty," Modi said in a veiled reference to the Nehru-Gandhi family.

The terms AD (anno Domini) and BC (before Christ) are used to label or number years in the Julian and Gregorian calendars.

Modi also accused the Congress of defaming the nation.

"In discussing Modi and in discussing BJP, they end up defaming the nation. That is why their leaders go to London and do press conferences to show India in bad light," the prime minister said.

Modi made this remark in an apparent reference to a news conference in London by a self-proclaimed ‘cyber expert’ who claimed that the 2014 Lok Sabha polls were rigged through ‘hacked’ electronic voting machines (EVMs).

Congress leader Kapil Sibal was present at the conference last month through skype by an US-based Indian who identified himself as Syed Shuja.

Sibal had said he attended the event in “personal capacity”, in response to the BJP's allegation that he was there on behalf of his party.

Modi also said the Congress did not have vision and has not worked for the benefit of the nation.

"Modiji will frighten the people who are corrupt,” said Modi, adding, ‘the nation has put me in this position to end corruption’.

In the 100-minute speech, he accused successive governments of the Congress of indulging in corruption and harbouring the corrupt.

"I assure you, those who have looted the nation will continue to be scared of Narendra Modi," the PM said as he vowed to come down hard on those indulging in corruption and expressed confidence that his government will return to power in the coming general elections.

Referring to the Commonwealth Games of 2010, Modi said while the players were working hard to win medals for India, the event was an opportunity for a few in the Congress ‘to boost personal wealth’.

The Congress used 'loan waiver' for farmers as a '10-year scheme' to win elections but in reality did nothing for small peasants, he alleged, asserting that his government is dedicated to national interest and rooting out corruption and black money.

In an oblique reference to the Enforcement Directorate's probe against Rahul Gandhi's brother-in-law Robert Vadra on corruption charges, he said details of properties are being unearthed in investigation of graft cases.

"For whom, where, when... details are coming out," he said, and then referred to recent extradition of people wanted in corruption cases by central agencies.

Congress leaders are downcast as they are not sure what these 'raazdar' (ones having secrets) will reveal, Modi said.

To the charge that his government was destroying institutions, he hit back at the Congress saying it was a case of 'ulta chor chowkidar ko dante' (thieves scolding the watchman).

He also said the extradition of some of the accused in the AgustaWestland helicopter deal was giving jitters to many in the opposition as 'razdars' were returning and will spill the beans.

He alleged that during the previous United Progressive Alliance regime, there have been instances when people availed loans from banks following phone calls from higher ups in the government.

"The phone banking of the UPA did wonders for the friends of their leaders. Due to such favouritism, our banking system witnessed many problems," the PM said.

Referring to the action taken against thousands of NGOs who have been getting foreign funding but not utilising them properly, Modi said the NDA government has completely overhauled the process of foreign funding.

"We sought transparency in the process, but about 20,000 such organisations had to close down. Why was such money allowed to come in without accountability.

"The tried to influence decision-making process as well as judiciary," he said, and warned of action against more such entities.

He also attacked the Congress over price rise during its tenure.

"Price rise and Congress are a team. When Congress comes, so does price-rise. The NDA government has worked to keep prices under check," he said.

Rejecting allegations of rising unemployment, Modi said crores of new jobs have been created in formal and unorganised sectors including transport, hotels and infrastructure.

Jobs have been created both in informal and formal sectors, he said in Lok Sabha, citing data from provident fund and National Pension System (NPS), Income Tax filings and sale of vehicles among others.

The strong rebuttal came amid allegations of jobless growth under the Modi government.

Modi said informal sector accounts for 85-90 per cent while the formal sector provides only 10-15 per cent employment in the country.

The prime minister said in 15 months till November 2018, 1.8 crore people got enrolled in the Employees Provident Fund for the first time.

Of these 64 per cent were below 28 years of age. As many as 65 lakh employees were part of NPS system in 2014 which has increased to 1.2 crore by October 2018.

About 6.35 lakh new professionals have filed income tax returns in the last four year.

"Isn't this indication of job creation,” the PM quipped on the repeated barbs of opposition leaders on employment situation in the country.

Referring to the informal sector, he said, 36 lakh new large trucks/commercial vehicles, 1.5 crore passenger vehicles and 27 lakh new autos were sold.

Have those been bought for parking, he said, adding they are not included in the job data. Modi said there is no correct system of collecting job data at present and his government is trying to put one in place.

He said 1.25 crore opportunities were created in hotel industry, 1.5 crore in tourism, besides a large number of jobs have been created by cab aggregators and through Mudra scheme.

Cab aggregators are app based but vehicles are not ‘driver-less’, Modi said as he reeled out data on jobs created in different sectors.

He also took a jibe at previous non-BJP governments saying that in earlier times odd jobs created even in STD booths were cited in Parliament.

The government has launched several initiatives like Skill India, Stand-Up India and Digital India aimed at promoting self employment in the country.

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