From suit-boot ki sarkar and Pay to Modi to the recent earthquake and dog culture jibes in Parliament, the Congress and the BJP have been trading insults ever since Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014. The confrontations, which have often stalled legislative business, turned personal on Wednesday as the Prime Minister took a swipe at his predecessor in Rajya Sabha. “People should learn from Dr (Manmohan) Singh the art of taking a bath wearing a raincoat,” Modi said, referring to Singh’s image remaining blemish-free even as he was surrounded by scams.
As an angry Congress vows not to let Modi speak in Parliament, HT lists flashpoints between the main opposition party and the Prime Minister
Suit boot ki sarkar
Soon after his return from a 53-day sabbatical abroad on April 16, 2015, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi launched an offensive against the BJP-led NDA government. From his rally at Delhi’s Ramlila Ground on April 19 to his intervention during a debate on the agrarian crisis in the Lok Sabha the following day, Gandhi mocked the government calling it a “suit boot ki sarkar”, a reference to Modi’s monogrammed suit. Gandhi sought to project the government as pro-corporate and anti-poor.
The Congress demanded the resignation of Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje and foreign minister Sushma Swaraj for allegedly helping former cricket administrator Lalit Modi obtain travel documents and leave England. Eventually, PM Modi became the political target for allowing his party leaders to help a ‘fugitive’. The Congress, helped by other opposition parties, disrupted the House daily, demanding action and questioning the PM’s silence on the matter.
Between 2014 and 2015, several eminent writers, artists and filmmakers returned awards given by the government to protest against events – murder of M Kalburgi, a prominent rationalist scholar, the Dadri lynching case and the 139-day stand-off by FTII students – that were viewed as promoting intolerance.
An election speech in December 2014 by union minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti allegedly promoting hatred was used by the Congress to target Modi in Parliament.
As the NDA government tried to amend the UPA-era land acquisition laws, all hell broke loose. The Congress promptly attacked the PM, labeling him “friend of the corporate” as Modi and his senior colleagues tried to defend the decision and repeatedly underlined the merits behind the move. Finally, the PM announced in his Mann ki Baat that the ordinance on land law amendments will not be renewed, sending the bill to a freezer.
Khoon ki Dalali
At a rally at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar in October last year, Gandhi attacked the PM and the BJP for trying to take political advantage of the September 29 surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the Line of Control. “Humare jawan hain jinho ne khoon diya, jinhone Hindustan ke liye surgical strike kiya, unke khoon ke peeche aap (PM) chhupe hain. Unki (soldiers) aap (PM) dalali kar rahe ho. (Our jawans sacrificed their lives, carried out surgical strikes, you are hiding behind their blood, you are exploiting their sacrifices…you are profiteering from the soldiers…this is totally wrong),” he had said.
The gamble of banning 500 and 1,000-rupee banknotes led to a renewed confrontation between the Congress and the PM. The principal Opposition party, which had initially supported the move, later termed the government’s move as anti-poor, anti-farmer and anti-small business.
During the winter session last year, which was washed out because of ruckus over the government’s note ban move, Gandhi told reporters outside Parliament that he had information about “personal corruption” by the Prime Minister and there would be an “earthquake” if he was allowed to speak in Lok Sabha. Hitting back, the Prime Minister told Lok Sabha this week that the earthquake had finally occurred. Though Modi made the statement in the context of an earthquake in Uttarakhand, the reference was obvious.
An acronym war started in Uttar Pradesh last week after the PM urged people at a Meerut rally to rid the state of SCAM— S for Samajwadi (party), C for Congress, A for Akhilesh (Yadav) and M for Mayawati. The next day, Gandhi and Akhikesh came up with their versions in Kanpur -- “S, in fact, stands for service, C for courage, A for ability and M for modesty,” said Gandhi. Akhilesh defined SCAM as “Save Country from Amit Shah and Modi”.
Fair and lovely
Gandhi coined the phrase ‘fair and lovely’ scheme last year to attack Modi over the government’s income declaration scheme, saying it would enable industrialists to convert their black money into white. “Modi has brought a fair and lovely scheme to wash off the sins of his industrialist friends,” Gandhi had said.