The Congress is like ‘mrityu (death)’ as it remains untouched by criticism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday but appealed to the Opposition to pass key bills in the Rajya Sabha where the government’s lack of numbers has held up crucial legislation.
Speaking in the upper House, Modi appeared to draw a distinction between the Congress and other parties, saying the principal opposition party was blessed like death, which he said is above criticism.
Watch | Top quotes of PM Modi against Congress in Rajya Sabha
“Death is a blessing.... People say someone died of cancer, (people say) he died of old age...The cancer and old age is blamed but not the death,” Modi said.
“When we criticise the Congress, it is reported as - criticism on Opposition, not criticism on Congress. Congress never gets a bad name,” @PMOIndia tweeted.
But when the government criticised parties such as the Janata Dal (United) or Bahujan Samaj Party, the media reported it as “JD(U) is under attack or BSP is under attack”, he added.
Modi hailed the Rajya Sabha as a “chamber of ideas” and insisted on coordination between both Houses.
“Nation is waiting for us to pass many bills. Let us pass those bills passed in the Lok Sabha as soon as possible and give impetus to India’s progress,” he said.
The NDA has a commanding majority in the Lok Sabha but is in a minority in the 250-member upper House, where its lack of numbers has stalled key pieces of legislation such as the goods and services tax.
The PM’s comments were seen as an attempt to reach out to non-Congress opposition parties as the government is unlikely to cobble together a majority in the Rajya Sabha on its own for at least the next two years.
Modi appreciated the cooperation of members in the present session and said unlike previous sessions, the proceedings were going on smoothly.
But he attacked Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, saying there are two kinds of people - one who work and the other who take credit for it.
Modi also criticised the Congress for opposing the enforcement of minimum educational qualification in panchayat elections, a move that many activists say will bar poor and lower caste people from contesting local body polls.
“Let you (Congress) give tickets to illiterate people and see what the experience will be like. We try to give political colour to everything. We can have different points of view but don’t politicise everything,” the PM said.
Modi listed transparency, accountability and decentralization as three key aspects of his governance and emphasized on his aim to double farmer income by 2022.
“Government is ensuring that benefit of subsidy goes only to those deserving, it is not issue of saving money. The biggest beneficiaries of MUDRA bank are SC/ST, OBC communities and women,” he said.
Modi also talked about cleanliness, a key thrust of his administration as exemplified by the Swachh Bharat scheme, and said it had become a “mass movement”. “
“Cleanliness helps the poor the most. Due to lack of cleanliness the poor are forced to spend more money on medicines.”