MNREGA proof of Cong failure: Modi

MNREGA proof of Cong failure: Modi

PM expresses government's willingness to correct 'any shortcomings'

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in combative mood in the Lok Sabha on Friday when he took a direct dig at the Congress for branding his government “anti-farmer” over the land acquisition bill issue.

Replying to a debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President's address, Modi’s more than hour-long speech in Lok Sabha was punctuated with humour-laced sarcasm reflected in his remark that he was not politically naive to discontinue UPA’s pet scheme MNEREGA which he believed was “a proof” of the Congress’s worst ever “failing” in elections. 

“We should not have ego that there can be nothing better than what we did. It took 120 years to realise problems in land laws enacted in 1894. When you passed the Land Act (in 2013), we stood shoulder to shoulder with you. We knew that you want to take political mileage out of it. Still we stood by you,” Modi told the Congress in the Lok Sabha while give point by point rebuttal to opposition attack. 

Requesting the Opposition to rise above politics, he repeated the government’s defence that it decided to amend land acquisition act after consulting all the chief ministers belonging to various parties. “...When our government was formed, chief ministers of all parties said in one voice: Please think about farmers, they want irrigation and infrastructure. You made such a law which is against farmers’ interest. Are we so arrogant that we will ignore the voice of chief ministers in a federal structure? Can we ignore farmers interest? Is it not our responsibility to correct the mistake, if any? Whatever you have done, we are not rejecting it. Do not weigh this in the balance of politics,” he said.

The prime minister, however, expressed the government’s willingness to correct “any shortcomings” and assured the Congress that he would publicly give credit to their leaders if they come on board to push through the legislation tabled in Lok Sabha. 

Modi was particularly severe on the Congress with its president Sonia Gandhi seated on the front row of opposition benches, dubbing its flagship scheme MNREGA a “living monument” of poverty as he remarked that all the oldest party has done in the last 60 years since Independence was asking poor to dig.

“Do you think, I will put an end to the scheme. My political wisdom does not allow me to do it. This is a living monument of your failure to tackle poverty in 60 years. With song and dance and drum beat, I will continue with the scheme,” he said amidst thumping of desks.

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