NEW DELHI – Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday accused the Congress of having “small mind” and fostering one family’s legacy at the country’s cost and said there was “festival of honesty” under his government with people knowing they will get account of the tax they pay.
Replying to the debate on the motion of thanks to the President’s address in the Lok Sabha, Modi went to hit out on the Congress on several issues, arguing it had no right to give lessons on democracy and should not “mislead” the country on the issue of employment generation.
He said Congress-led UPA was fully responsible for the NPAs of banks and the country will never forgive the party for its “sin”.
Congress members protested throughout Modi’s over 90 minute speech, raising slogans and displaying placards.
Modi also sought to reach out to the middle class, which is seemingly feeling squeezed by the tax proposals in the Union Budget, saying the government was bringing about ease of living through good governance, improving education, infrastructure and housing.
With some MPs from Andhra Pradesh protesting before his speech over the pending promises at the time of division of state, Modi accused the Congress of “dividing” the state and earlier the country in 1947 for political gains.
“This is your character. You divided India. Even after 70 years of Independence, 125 crore people of India continue to suffer because of the poison you sowed. Not a single day passes when people of India are not punished for your sins.
“When we speak about creating new states, we remember the manner in which Atal Bihari Vajpayee created Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. He showed how farsighted decision making is done,” Modi said.
Attacking Congress over its leaders’ claims about the development done by the party in its long rule, Modi said several countries, which had gained independence almost when India had attained it, had surged ahead in development.
He said there was nominal opposition during the first few decades after Independence and Congress hold sway and even decided top judicial appointments. “But you spent the entire time singing songs in praise of one family forgetting the country. If you had worked responsibly channelizing the energy of people, the country would have reached new heights….”.
Congress feels that the country was born on August 15, 1947 and democracy was given by the party and by country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, he said, noting there was democracy in India from ancient times.
Modi said that if Sardar Vallabhai Patel had been the first Prime Minister instead of Nehru, the country would have not faced the Kashmir problem.
He also took a dig at Rahul Gandhi’s elevation as Congress chief, and also slammed him for tearing the UPA government’s ordinance to save convicted legislators from disqualification.
He also accused the party of inaugurating half-finished projects to gain publicity.
Referring to unemployment, he said four opposition ruled states – West Bengal, Karnataka, Odisha and Kerala – had claimed to have generated one crore jobs. “Will you not treat it as employment,” he said, adding that unemployment was posed as a national problem and the answer has also to be in a national perspective.
Modi said the aspirational youth from the middle class were keen on setting their own enterprise than on jobs. “We should support their aspirations,” he said, adding that the NDA government has given 10 crore Mudra loans.
“Is it not a boost to employment. You have habit of singing your praises… Atalji had said no one rises with a small mind.”
Referring to Aadhar, he said Congress had apprehension that Modi will not make use of it and now when government was making full use of it, objections were still being raised.
He said Rs 57,000 crore had been saved due to direct transfer of money to beneficiaries and this was earlier going in the pockets of middlemen.
“If employment has gone, it is of these middlemen, the people who looted the country,” Modi said.
Referring to farmers, Modi said efforts were being made to reduce their cost of cultivation and supplement their incomes through steps such as bee-keeping, animal husbandry and bamboo plantation.
He said GST was benefiting the country and time taken to transport goods had come done considerably.
He said those who had indulged in corruption will not be spared. “Today there is festival of honesty. People have faith that they will get account of every rupee given in tax,” Modi said.