PM Modi lays road map for 3rd term on House floor | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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PM Modi lays road map for 3rd term on House floor

Feb 08, 2024 04:39 AM IST

Modi's speech comes ahead of general elections in India, scheduled for April and May.

New Delhi Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday outlined his vision for a potential third term and said it will strengthen the foundation for a developed India, as he launched a scorching attack on the Congress over its handling of the economy, internal security, and social justice just months ahead of general elections.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. (ANI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. (ANI)

In his last speech in Parliament before the polls, Modi also hit out at the Opposition for trying to pit northern states against southern states, referred to West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s comment that the Congress will not win 40 seats in the Lok Sabha elections, and accused the Congress of colonial mentality and hurting marginalised castes.

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“The third term of our government is not far away. Some people call it Modi 3.0. Modi 3.0 will put all its might to strengthen the foundation of Viksit Bharat (developed India),” the PM said while speaking in the Rajya Sabha as part of his reply to the debate on the motion of thanks on the President’s address.

In the speech that lasted nearly 90 minutes, Modi said that the 10 years of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government will be remembered for “big and decisive” moves, and added that the nation’s policies were geared towards ensuring basic facilities for all and raising the standards of living.

“In the coming days, our focus will be going beyond ease of living to improving quality of life… my resolve to provide new opportunities to the neo-middle class that has just come out of poverty. We will provide more strength to the Modi kavach (shield) of social justice,” he said.

Modi said that the free ration scheme, Ayushman Bharat scheme, 80% discounts on medicines, PM Kisan Samman Nidhi that pays cash to farmers, pucca houses for the poor, tapped water connections and construction of new toilets will continue at a fast pace. He said medical infrastructure will be augmented, medical treatment will become more affordable, every house will have piped water, saturation of the PM housing scheme will be achieved, electricity bills would become zero for millions of houses due to use of solar power, and piped cooking gas connections will cover the entire country.

Modi said his first two terms went in grappling with the problems left by the Congress, which he alleged knew of the “disease” but did nothing to resolve it. “Viksit Bharat is not a wordplay, but it is our commitment. The country will not listen to those whose warranty has expired. The one who has shown the power of guarantee will be trusted by the nation,” Modi said.

The PM assured the House that India will make greater strides in space exploration and scientific research and patent filing will break records. “In the next five years, the world will witness the capabilities of Indian youth in every international sporting competition,” he added.

He said the Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self-Reliant India) campaign will attain new heights, Made In India semiconductors and electronics will dominate the world, and the country will work towards reducing energy dependence on other countries. India will see more startups, 100,000 unicorns, the best universities, transformation in public transportation, and bullet trains, he added.

In Modi 3.0, the PM continued, India will extensively use AI, nano-fertilisers, green technologies, natural farming and super food. “3 crore lakhpati didis will write a new script of women empowerment. By 2047, India will relive its golden period,” he added.

No guarantee vs Modi ki guarantee

A large chunk of the speech was reserved for the Opposition.

Modi mocked Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and said there was public anger against the party because of its deeds, even alleging that the Congress was opposed to awarding Bharat Ratna to BR Ambedkar. He also repeatedly invoked that various schemes and developing India were “Modi Ki Guarantee”, a promise linked to the PM that reaped handsome dividends in the recently concluded assembly polls in three heartland states.

“The Congress’s thought process has become outdated and it has outsourced its work. We are not happy at such a downfall of the party and we express our sympathies,” he said. The Congress does not have the guarantee of its own leader and policy but is questioning Modi’s guarantee, he added.

Modi also rejected the Opposition’s claim of a north-south divide and discriminatory behaviour towards some states. Drawing an analogy to the functioning of the nation with that of the human body, the PM said that even if one state remained underdeveloped, the nation could not be considered developed, on the lines of how one injured organ or limb affects the entire body.

Accusing the Congress of trying to divide the country, Modi said such narratives jeopardise the country’s future. He appeared to be referring to protests led by Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah in Delhi over alleged “injustice” meted out by the Centre on devolution of taxes to southern states.

“The Congress which had openly strangled democracy in its greed for power, the Congress which had dismissed democratically elected governments dozens of times overnight, the Congress which had even tried to lock newspapers, is now trying to break the country,” he said.

A significant theme of his speech was social justice. Modi again referred to the “four most important castes” — women, youth, farmers and the poor, saying that the development and progress of these four pillars will lead to a developed India. “The 20th-century approach will not work if we want to achieve Viksit Bharat by 2047,” he added.

‘Nehru opposed reservation’

He also took on the Congress, which has repeatedly blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party of ignoring marginalised castes and demanded a nationwide caste census.

Citing a letter written by Jawaharlal Nehru to chief ministers, Modi said it clearly stated that the first PM was against reservation of any kind, especially in jobs, and believed that it adversely affected the functioning of the government. He said the roots of those who ask for numbers — a reference to the Congress — lay in this mindset. “If they had been recruited in the government at that time, they would have been promoted today,” he said.

The PM also touched upon the rights and development of marginalised castes, and said that abrogation of Article 370 ensured that these communities get the same rights as the rest of the country in Jammu and Kashmir. He also underlined how a government backed by the BJP had awarded the Bharat Ratna to Ambedkar and how his administration nominated a tribal woman to be President.

“The Congress which never gave complete reservation to other backward classes (OBCs), which never gave reservation to the poor of the general category, which did not consider Babasaheb worthy of Bharat Ratna, kept giving Bharat Ratna only to its family. They are now preaching to us,” he said. “Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas (inclusive development for all) is a Modi guarantee.”

He said that in the last 10 years, scholarships for SC and ST students were hiked, school enrolment numbers rose, drop-out rates dipped, a new central tribal university was established and the number of Eklavya model schools increased from 120 to 400. The enrolment of SC students in higher education increased by 44% percent, ST students by 65% and OBC students by 45%. “In the last 10 years, a large number of our brothers and sisters from SC, ST and OBC communities have been the beneficiaries of our government schemes,” he said.

“The Congress strangled democracy for power and dismissed democratically elected governments. The Congress has been against Dalits, backwards, tribals and had it not been for Babasaheb Ambedkar, they would not have got any reservation,” he said.

He accused the Congress of following colonial mentality after Independence and quoted former PM Manmohan Singh to underline the state of the economy under the then United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

“During the Congress government’s 10 years, the entire world used words like ‘fragile five’ and policy paralysis for India. And in our 10 years, they now talk of us as among the top 5 economies.”

He highlighted the government’s effort to remove signs of colonial mentality — new ensign for the defence forces, the renaming of Rajpath as Kartavya Path, the abolition of British-era penal codes, and the promotion of Indian languages. “The Congress promoted a mindset that looked down upon those following Indian traditions,” he said.

He said that the government had cleaned up the mess in public sector enterprises, and their number had gone up from 234 in 2014 to 254 now. In the last 10 years, PSU’s net profit saw an increase from 1.25 lakh crore between 2004 and 2014 to 2.50 lakh crore, and the net value of PSUs increased from 9.5 lakh crore to 17 lakh crore, he added.

Speaking about PM Modi’s reply, Congress chief Kharge said, “It was not a reply to the Motion of the Thanks on President’s address, it was only about him (PM Modi) cursing the Congress. He only spoke on what the Congress did. I believe that these people (BJP) don’t consider the Constitution, they never participated in Mahatma Gandhi’s Dandi March, they never participated in Bharat Chhodo Andolan and are teaching the lesson of patriotism to the Congress.”

In a post on X in Hindi, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said, “Be it election platform or Parliament, every speech of the Prime Minister is just a ‘heap of lies’. He has become so engrossed in his lies, the applause and his media that every question related to the public makes him angry. Anger is a guarantee of destruction, not development.”

Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien said there were no guarantees about employment, price rise, the situation in Manipur and accused him of “butchering federalism”.

“PM @narendramodi delivers looong Mann Ki Baat (Rajya Sabha edition). His govt has converted Parliament into a deep, dark chamber. No guarantees about employment, price rise, Manipur. Hollow words about federalism from a man who has blood on his hands for butchering federalism,” Derek O’Brien said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

Unveiling 'Elections 2024: The Big Picture', a fresh segment in HT's talk show 'The Interview with Kumkum Chadha', where leaders across the political spectrum discuss the upcoming general elections. Watch Now!

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