BJP is a 'parasite', 'ate up' regional parties: Jairam Ramesh

The Congress leader claimed that the 2024 election result was a decisive, personal, political and moral defeat for Modi but that was not reflected in the way he allowed Parliament to be conducted.
Last Updated : 04 July 2024, 16:12 IST

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New Delhi: Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Thursday said the PM called for consensus outside Parliament but opted for confrontation within it, and if anybody was a "parasite", it was the BJP as its track record shows how it had "eaten up" the regional parties.

In an interview with PTI a day after the Parliament session ended, the Congress general secretary, in-charge communications, said the first session of the 18th Lok Sabha had shown that a "new, aggressive, revived, rejuvenated" Opposition had emerged in the form of I.N.D.I.A. bloc.

"The first session of the 18th Lok Sabha and the simultaneous session of Rajya Sabha has certainly seen two things -- a new, aggressive, revived, rejuvenated Opposition in the INDIA group which is the way it should be in a democracy, but at the same time we have also seen no change in the attitude, approach, behaviour of the non-biological PM," Ramesh said in a swipe at Modi.

The Congress leader claimed that the 2024 election result was a decisive, personal, political and moral defeat for Modi but that was not reflected in the way he allowed Parliament to be conducted.

"He (Modi) called for consensus outside Parliament but opted for confrontation within Parliament. There is no evidence that it is going to change, but there is evidence that the Opposition is going to be aggressive, active, pro-active," Ramesh said.

"We hope the government realises that this is a mandate for a coalition government, it is a mandate for taking people along and it is also a mandate for listening to all other parties that are not part of the NDA," the Rajya Sabha MP said.

Asked about Prime Minister Modi's remarks calling the Congress "parjeevi" (parasitic) party, Ramesh slammed the BJP and pointed to the ruling party's track record in dealing with allies.

"Only a parasite can use that word. Look at the track record, of how the regional parties have been eaten up by the BJP. Today, the BJD, you see the climate change... has stood with the INDIA group in the Rajya Sabha throughout the session. So if anybody is a parasite, it is the BJP," he said.

Replying to nearly 18-hour long discussion on the Motion of Thanks on the President's Address in the Lower House, Modi had made the "parjeevi" barb at the Congress.

"I don't know if the Congress allies have done an analysis of the polls. This election is also a message for these allies. The Congress will be known as the parjeevi Congress party from 2024," Modi had said.

"Parjeevi" is one who feeds on the body it resides in and the Congress eats up the votes of the party it allies with while prospering at the cost of its ally, the PM had said.

Ramesh also accused the BJP of twisting Leader of Opposition Rahul Gandhi's remarks during his address in the Lok Sabha.

Gandhi had launched a no-holds-barred attack on the BJP, accusing the ruling party leaders of dividing people on communal lines. Gandhi's remarks drew massive protests from the treasury benches and a rare intervention from the prime minister, who accused the Congress leader of calling the entire Hindu community violent.

Asked about the BJP's allegations, Ramesh said, "It's a typical distortion that the prime minister excels in doing it. Throughout the election campaign, he distorted and he defamed, that's not surprising what he did. Rahul Gandhi made perfectly legitimate remarks which were that the non-biological PM and his colleagues do not speak on behalf of the Hindu faith and the Hindu way of life."

"We are all Hindus, we are all proud of it. The way the non-biological PM and his colleagues have conducted themselves, propagating prejudice, hatred, bigotry, violence, it goes against the tenets of this great faith that has sustained our culture and civilisation for thousands of years," he added.

Ramesh also weighed in on the row over Gandhi's remarks on the Agnipath military recruitment scheme in the Lok Sabha.

"The evidence is very clear, that Rajnath Singh contradicted what Rahul Gandhi said, but the facts are entirely in support of what Rahul Gandhi said. Let them do whatever they have to do, all the facts will come out. The facts are completely contrary to what Mr Rajnath Singh claimed, it was he who misled the House," Ramesh said.

"The fact is the non-biological PM cannot run away from the fact that a former Army Chief of Staff has written in his memoir that it was a surprise for the Army and it came as a bolt from the blue for the air force and the navy. The majority of the armed forces are opposed to the contractual system that has been introduced in the name of Agniveer," he said.

On whether any action may be initiated against Gandhi for his remarks in the House, Ramesh said they will try to unsettle him no doubt but his principle has been "daro mat" (don't be scared).

"Remember there is no comparison between the mandate Mr Rahul Gandhi got in Rae Bareli to the mandate the prime minister got in Varanasi," he said.

On his claims that the government will not last, Ramesh said the government is entirely dependent on support from "two Ns -- Nitish Kumar and N Chandrababu Naidu".

"This mandate was not for the BJP, the BJP could not cross 240 and talked about 400. This was a personal rejection of the non-biological PM. I find that the constant reference to 'ek tihaai' (one-third) pradhan mantri has irked him, though in his characteristic style he twisted it. I was saying 'ek tihaai PM' and not 'ek tihaai government'," Ramesh said.

Published 04 July 2024, 16:12 IST

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