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‘Thus far and no further’: PM Modi’s sharp warning to Congress in Lok Sabha

PM Modi on Tuesday treated the Congress as his punching bag in the Lok Sabha during his reply to a discussion in Lok Sabha, rebutting criticism that the NDA government had attempted to corner credit for India’s development and belittled his predecessors.

india Updated: Jun 25, 2019 23:24 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Parliament,India news,Prime minister Narendra Modi
PM Modi said he didn’t like making this point but was forced by Congress leaders who repeatedly accuse him of cornering credit.(PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday treated the Congress as his punching bag in the Lok Sabha during his reply to a discussion in Lok Sabha, rebutting criticism that his government had attempted to corner credit for India’s development and belittled his predecessors.

“I may be the only prime minister to have said, from the ramparts of Red Fort, that all governments at the centre and the states have played a role. I have said the same in this house also,” PM Modi said. Then, he went on to hurl stinging darts at the Congress, accusing the party of having ignored the contribution of not just leaders from other parties such as Atal Bihari Vajpayee but also its own.

PM Modi named former prime ministers PV Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh as two examples, wondering why Congress leaders did not name either of them when they spoke about achievements of Congress governments.

“Did they ever speak about the good work of Narismha Rao Ji? In this Lok Sabha debate, the same people did not even speak of Manmohan ji… Because people outside the family don’t get anything (credit),” PM Modi said, responding to a discussion in the Lok Sabha that mirrored the acrimonious campaign during the recent national elections.

PM Modi said he didn’t like making this point but was forced by Congress leaders who repeatedly accuse him of cornering credit. “Thus far and no further,” he said breaking into English, warning the Congress to stop this campaign.

PM Modi also rejected suggestions that the NDA government tried to belittle previous governments, underscoring that his government had gained appreciation by the public by outperforming his predecessors. Congress leaders, he said, had clearly risen so high that it had lost touch with people on the ground and ground realities.

The Congress that led the opposition assault against the ruling BJP-led national coalition in the early part of the debate had alleged the government was “driven by manipulation”, called PM Modi “a big salesman” and attributed the BJP’s stunning victory in the Lok Sabha elections only to its ability to sell its product well.

Here are the highlights from PM Modi’s reply in Lok Sabha

The prime minister, who described Emergency as an event that crushed India’s soul, also responded to barbs from Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. The Bengal Congress leader had accused him to levelling false allegations against Rahul and Sonia Gandhi during the election campaign and wondered why he wasn’t putting them in jail if they were guilty.

PM Modi said: “We are being taunted for not putting ‘them’ in jail. We are not in Emergency, we follow rule of law. You must enjoy while you are out of jail. We have got so much from our country… We don’t need to sway from the right path,” PM Modi said.

During the debate too, the BJP had hammered the opposition for building a “false narrative” in the run-up to the elections; its first speaker a first-time MP from Odisha had also asked why the opposition was reluctant to praise PM Modi.

The tone and substance of the discussion – the first in the life of the 17th Lok Sabha – is seen as an indication that politics would continue be severely polarised and parties are already looking at future elections with an eye on key social constituencies.

That bitterness was reflected on Tuesday as well as Lok Sabha resumed the discussion on the motion of thanks to President Ram Nath Kovind for his address to the joint sitting of Parliament. Nearly 60 lawmakers participated in the debate over two days.

BJP’s Dilip Ghosh, who is leading the party’s offensive in West Bengal, accused the Mamata Banerjee government of trying to create a “West Bangladesh” by allowing infiltrators from Bangladesh to settle in Bengal. The DMK, in turn, similarly slammed the ruling AIADMK government back home in Tamil Nadu.

First Published: Jun 25, 2019 18:03 IST