On Oppn's inflation charge, PM Modi cites Pandit Nehru in Lok Sabha
- Parliament: Amid protests from Congress benches, PM Modi said he was only trying to address their complaint that he did not invoke Nehru often.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday invoked Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in Parliament while taking on the Opposition over its criticism of rising prices.
Modi, in his reply to the debate on the President's address, said Opposition leaders have been raising the issue of inflation in Parliament, but it would have been better had they dealt with the matter when their government was in power.
Stating that his government was working on keeping prices in check, Modi who spoke for about 100 minutes, said, “During the pandemic too, our government tried to tackle inflation. During 2014-2020, the inflation rate was below 5 per cent.”
He then cited a quote of the country’s first PM in reference to the issue. “Nehru had said that if something happens in Korea, then it can impact prices here. He had said that any disturbance in America also caused inflation. Imagine how serious a problem it was that Nehru had to say this from the Red Fort. He too had given on inflation, but we don't run away from the same,” he said.
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Amid protests from Congress benches, Modi said he was only trying to address their complaint that he did not invoke Nehru often. “You complain that I don't take Panditji's name… So I am fulfilling your wish,” he said.
Taking a dig at Congress MP P Chidambaram, Modi said the former was writing articles on the economy in newspapers these days, but did little as the finance minister. “In 2012, he had said the public were not troubled when they had to spend ₹15 on a water bottle and ₹20 on ice cream, but the public cannot tolerate when there is Re 1 increase in prices of wheat and rice,” Modi said.
While he did not name Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, a large part of his speech was devoted to hitting out at the Congress scion for "blind opposition" to BJP-led central government's initiatives such as 'Make in India', 'Fit India' and the grand old party’s response to Covid-19 pandemic.
"The manner in which you speak, the way you raise issues, you appear to have resolved to not return to power for 100 years. Hence, I have also prepared accordingly," Modi said.
Stating that he was amazed at the manner in which the Congress criticised the Centre over its management of the pandemic, Modi said the party had sinned by provoking migrants during the first wave of pandemic that had led to further spread of the viral disease in states like Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Uttarakhand.
When Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the Congress leader in the Lok Sabha, protested, Modi urged him to return to his seat. "You have improved your confidential report. Those who have to register your performance have taken note of it. Nobody will dare remove you from your post during this session. I can guarantee this to you," Modi said.
In another jibe at Gandhi's absence in Parliament, Modi said, "Some people scoot after speaking and others have to bear the brunt."
(With agency inputs)