Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday launched a scathing attack on the Congress, saying it has refused to learn from its past mistakes, and only believed in abusing him instead of any constructive criticism. Modi said the beneficiaries of various schemes launched by his government in the last nine years will trust him instead of believing the falsehoods spread by the opposition.
“My trust among people has been built over the years in public life, and not through newspaper headlines or TV publicity,” he said while replying to the motion of thanks on the President’s Address in Lok Sabha.
Though the prime minister did not directly reply to the opposition's allegations of his proximity to industrialist Gautam Adani, his riposte left little doubt that he was hitting out at the Congress, including its leader Rahul Gandhi, for targeting him over the issue.
Modi said his government is focussed on the dalits, backwards, marginalised and the tribals.
The main takeaway of Modi’s speech was that he invoked the poor, marginalised, middle class and women, who have been the beneficiaries of various government schemes, saying they trust him and would not listen to the opposition’s charges.
“People trust Modi. The trust in Modi is not due to newspaper headlines or his face repeatedly shown in TVs. But I have given my life for the country. They (the opposition) cannot comprehend the trust the country has in Modi. Will 80 crore people getting free ration will trust these people?,” Modi said amidst thumping of desks by BJP MPs.
The Congress MPs tried to interrupt Modi's speech several times chanting Adani’s name and even staging a walkout.
“When the poor get ration, how will they trust you? Eleven crore farmers have received funds in their accounts. Who then will believe your false accusations? The person who was forced to stay on roads is now staying in a house. Will such three crore people believe you?”
He continued, “Nine crore women have got free gas connection. How will they believe your accusations? Eleven crore women have got toilets. How will they trust you. Eight crore families have got tap water, how will the mothers believe you? Two crore families have benefited from Ayushman Bharat scheme. In time of difficulty, Modi came to their rescue. How will they trust you?”
In a sharp attack on the Gandhi family, he said: “Some people live for their family, but Modi lives for 25 crore families”.
“They cannot penetrate the safety cover of trust thrown around him by the 14o crore Indians,” the prime ministe said.
Modi further singled out the Congress party for his attack. “I heard that many people have craze for Harvard studies. A study has been done on the rise and decline of Congress party. They have lost the ground under their feet, yet refuse to acknowledge that,” he said.
In an oblique reference to Rahul Gandhi’s charge that Modi had helped Adani secure contracts from foreign governments, the prime minister said, “There is a contradiction in what they are saying. They are saying since 2014 India has become weak. But then they say India is forcing decisions on other countries. First decide whether India is strong or weak.”
He termed the 10 years period from 2004 to 2014 when the Congress-led UPA was in power as the 'lost decade' when even opportunities were converted into difficulties. He cited the scams like 2G and CWG to hit at the Congress.
“Criticism is good for the country and development of democracy. But, unfortunately, I have been waiting that criticism, instead I got abuses. They (the opposition) have turned into compulsive critics,” Modi said.
He also questioned the opposition unity—parties had rallied together on the Adani issue—saying they have been brought together by the Enforcement Directorate.
Taking a jibe at Gandhi for hoisting tricolour in Srinagar, Modi said he was able to go there as an environment of safety has been created. “I remember, in the last century, I had gone there. In Jammu, I had challenged terrorists that I will come without security hoist the flag. I hoisted flag then, during the 1990s.”