“Keep the new India with you and give us back our old India where there were love, compassion and respect for culture between the communities,” - this is how the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad on Monday demolished the idea of a “new India under Narendra Modi” as propagated by the BJP.
“In our old India, Hindus used to feel the pain when Muslims and Dalits used to get hurt. When something used to get into eyes of Hindus, Muslims and Dalits used to shed tears for them. There were no hatred, no anger and no mob-lunching,” he said.
“But in your new India, people have turned out to be enemies of the people. You won't be scared of animals in a jungle but you will be scared of humans in a colony. Give us the old India where Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians live for each other,” the veteran Congress leader said opening up the debate from the Opposition side on the Motion of Thanks to the President's Speech.
Responding to BJP leader and party working president J P Nadda's advice to the opposition to review its functioning in the wake of the mandate that the Modi government received, Azad said the Congress was ready to be in the opposition for thousands of year but won't chart the course adopted by the saffron party.
“We believe in democracy, socialism, federalism and pluralism. We think these are essential to India's unity, prestige and existence,” he said.
The Congress leader came down heavily on BJP for nominating controversial leader Pragya Thakur, who described Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse as patriot to be a Lok Sabha candidate from Bhopal constituency that she won defeating Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh.
“She should have been suspended or dismissed from the party. But still she is in the party and the Prime Minister didn't say a word. On the contrary, the government was talking about celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation,” he said.
Azad slammed the BJD-led coalition government for its failure to pass the women reservation bill in the Lok Sabha and spending half of the money on Beti bachao, beti padhao and Swachh Bharat schemes on advertisements.
Later Samajwadi Party leader Ramgopal Yadav too reminded the BJP that unless the saffron party won the trust of the minority, it would have seen the same fate as that of the Rajiv Gandhi government in 1989 after winning a mammoth mandate five years ago.