Congress today slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Independence Day speech, saying he skipped many key issues concerning the nation like terrorism and foreign policy and disappointed ex-servicemen on OROP, though its top leadership kept a studied silence.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who unfurled the national flag at the AICC headquarters, refrained from making any comment on Modi's address. Party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, who has been unrelenting in his attacks on Modi on various issues including corruption and land bill, said it was "not a day for politics", leaving it to the next line of leaders to launch the offencive.
"Today is not a day of politics. We will talk tomorrow," Rahul merely said to queries by reporters.
Other Congress leaders alleged that the schemes enumerated by the Prime Minister in his speech from Red Fort were those started during UPA government and accused him of having different definitions of corruption, one for political opponents and the other for his own leaders.
"What new thing has he stated. He has talked of two-three schemes, but I am sorry to say that those schemes were started by the Congress party during the UPA government," said Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad.
Congress leader Ambika Sonia questioned the Prime Minister for "remaining silent all along on corruption by his Ministers".
"We kept asking that if you want to break the logjam in Rajya Sabha, let the Prime Minister come and explain the steps he is planning to take or he has taken on the corruption scams which centred around Lalit Modi and disclosures which came on it and Vyapam. He did not show up there and has not opened his mouth.
"Suddenly on August 15 he says there is no corruption. Nobody is going to believe him," she said.
She also questioned why he did not talk about terrorism or express sorrow at the death of innocent people in Gurdaspur and Udhampur terror attacks.
Accusing the Prime Minister and BJP of having different definitions of corruption for those in the party and outside, Congress leader Anand Sharma said, "I don't know what the Prime Minister's or BJP's definition of corruption is. There is one definition which they had for their political opponents and there is one definition which he has for his own people."
Former Defence Minister A K Antony accused the Prime Minister of going back on his commitment on 'One Rank, One Pension'.
"In the budget of February 2014, UPA government announced that it is accepting OROP and it will be implemented on April 1, 2014 onwards with retrospective effect. Our government announced OROP and we took all the decisions to implement it. It was a question of completing certain formalities for calculating individual pension.
"After 15 months, no less than the person like the Prime Minister saying we are accepting it in principle. It is going back. It is a total disappointment for the ex-servicemen community," he said reacting to the Prime Minister's comments on OROP. Former Minister V Narayanasamy also charged the CBI with favouring BJP leaders and closing cases against them and said this is not good for the country.
"After BJP government came to power, all cases against BJP and RSS workers are being closed. CBI is supporting BJP. This is not good for the country," he said.
Another party leader RPN Singh asked why the Prime Minister did not talk about terrorism or foreign policy, including on ties with Pakistan.
"The Prime Minister visits two nations every month. Why did he not speak anything on foreign policy or terrorism. He did not speak either on what kind of relations we will have with Pakistan, which he has only talked about during elections," he said.
Taking a dig at Jan-Dhan scheme, Congress leader Manish Tewari alleged that there was an "extortion paradigm" being set in place that money will be taken from the poorests of the poor and will be handed over to capitalists through the banking system.
Former Coal Minister Shriprakash Jaiswal said, "Why does the Prime Minister not tell that the Coal auction process was started by the UPA government."