From Partition to bad loans, PM holds party responsible
Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Lok Sabha.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday held the Congress responsible for all ills plaguing the nation from Partition to the piling non-performing assets (NPA) of banks.
The prime minister attacked the Congress on multiple fronts in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha while replying to the debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President's address to Parliament.
Speaking in the Lok Sabha (LS) amid noisy protests by the Opposition MPs, the prime minister not only hit the Congress hard but also set the tone for the BJP's campaign in the upcoming Assembly elections and the Lok Sabha polls.
Modi listed his government's achievements and compared it with the performance of the erstwhile Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
"The previous government is responsible for the NPA mess. They are 100% responsible and nobody else," the prime minister said.
He said that the UPA government had wrongly pegged the NPAs at 36%, whereas it was in fact 82%.
"You divided India. Even after 70 years of Independence, 125 crore people of India continue to suffer because of the poison you sowed. Not a single day passes when people of India are not punished for your sins," Modi said.
He slammed the Congress for claiming that Jawaharlal Nehru had introduced democracy in India.
"Democracy is integral to this nation and is in our culture," the prime minister said, referring to the democratic practices in ancient India.
He cited the examples of the 4th-century Lichhavi Kings, who voted to elect one of them as the ruler every year, the Buddhist Sangha as well as at the Anubhava Mantapa, introduced by social reformer Basaveshwara in Karnataka in the 12th century.
With eight states going to polls in 2018 and the LS elections due in 2019, the prime minister's nearly 90-minute long speech was full of barbs against the Nehru-Gandhi family and the Congress.
He said entire Kashmir would have remained with India had Sardar Vallabhai Patel been the first prime minister, instead of Nehru.
Modi wondered if Rahul Gandhi's elevation as Congress president last year was the result of a democratic election within the party or merely a "coronation".
He also sought to blunt the allegation that the 2018-19 Budget provided no sops for the middle class.
"India's middle class desires good education facilities, affordable housing and good infrastructure. They want 'Ease of Living' which we are committed to providing," he said.
Modi alleged that former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi had insulted a Dalit chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, T Anjaiah, at the airport in Hyderabad.
He accused the UPA government of carving out Telangana out of Andhra Pradesh in haste for its own political interests without addressing the grievances of residual Andhra Pradesh.
While attacking the Congress in the Upper House, Modi said that Congress-mukt Bharat was in fact Mahatma Gandhi's dream
"I also want India of Gandhi's dream. And Gandhi had said since the country has got independence, now Congress is not required and should be disbanded. This Congress-mukt Bharat is Gandhi's dream."
Members of the Telugu Desam Party and the Y S R Congress protested again on Wednesday in the LS, demanding the Centre to release the special financial package to Andhra Pradesh as promised when Telangana was carved out.