Published On: Thu, Mar 3rd, 2016

Modi targets Congress, pays back Rahul in equal measure

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Mixing aggression, wit and barbs, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today accused Congress of stalling Parliament because of “jealousy” and “inferiority complex” of its leadership even as he appealed for opposition support for “improving” governance while sidestepping the raging controversies surrounding JNU and Hyderabad University.

In his 75-minute speech in the Lok Sabha, he paid back in sarcasm to the attack, particularly by Rahul Gandhi, yesterday over various initiatives of his government, including the ‘Make-in-India’ programme and MNREGA.

However, at the end of his speech winding up the debate on the motion of thanks to the President’s address, the Prime Minister held out an olive branch to the opposition seeking its cooperation in running the government for the benefit of the people and the country.

“We need to make an atmosphere of improving trust. If you have suggestions, please do offer. I would like the government to adopt these habits. Government also needs to improve and this would not happen without your support. I need your support. I need you people, your experience.

“I am new. You are experienced. Let us walk shoulder to shoulder and do some good work for the nation. Governments may come and go. People may come and go. Things may fail or succeed but the country will remain immortal. And we will work for the fulfilment of the country,” he said reaching out to the Opposition.

After the Prime Minister’s reply, the House rejected all opposition amendments, including one by division insisted upon by BJD leader Batruhari Mahtab, and adopted the motion.

Paying back in good measure to Rahul without naming him, Modi appeared to be responding to his remarks yesterday that the Prime Minister should “listen” to others by saying it is “easy to preach others”.

The Prime Minister recalled how Rahul had in 2013 shown “respect” to the Cabinet headed by Manmohan Singh and veterans of his cabinet including A K Antony, Sharad Pawar and Farooq Abdullah by tearing in public an Ordinance cleared by it.

Slamming Congress for disrupting Parliament and stalling bills, Modi said it was doing so because of “jealousy” and “inferiority complex” of its top leaders, suggesting they were not allowing “young” and “bright” leaders to emerge fearing that they may overshadow Rahul.

“In the opposition, there are bright and talented youngsters who don’t get a chance to speak. They do a lot of study. The concern is that if they speak, they will be praised. Then what will happen to us?” he said to the cheers from the treasury benches.

He also invoked the statements made by Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and first President Rajendra Prasad by reading out their statements against stalling of legislative business.

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