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Modi clears air, answers critics

Modi clears air, answers critics
The indication from Modi came on Friday while giving the reply in the Lok Sabha on the discussion on the Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address.

The Opposition, including the Congress had demanded withdrawal of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015. The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha earlier this month on February 24. This was followed by a two-day dharna by anti-corruption campaigner Anna Hazare at Jantar Mantar, which was supported among others by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Urging the Opposition to support the bill, the Prime Minister said that he was ready to give due credit to them. He said that the previous government was in a hurry to pass the bill for political gains and committed many errors. “But the BJP still stood by them as the draconian 120-year-old law was being replaced,” said the PM.

Speaking for the first time in the current Budget session, the Prime Minister began by saying that he took criticism positively. It was probably a veiled reference to Hazare, who had said that Modi has ‘allergy’ towards him. Bringing the issue of corruption to the centre-stage, Modi said it should not be discussed through a political prism. “Whose shirt is whiter, let us forget this tu tu main main... I’ll make an allegation, they’ll make an allegation. Forget the past. How can we come together against corruption for the future?” asked the Prime Minister applauded by over 300-strong treasury bench.

During more than hour long reply, Modi also denounced communalism saying no one can take the law into his or her hands and discriminate on the grounds of community. “My government has only one religion - India first,” said Prime Minister, assuring Parliament of his commitment to religious equality and tolerance. “Nobody has the right to discriminate on the basis of religion. My government has only this ideology - India and the Constitution above all else,” he said. Modi’s terse message came amid concerns and criticism that religious minorities were being targeted by Hindu extremists.

While calling for stopping unnecessary expenditure so that, that money could reach the poor, the Prime Minister said his government will take the Opposition on board on rationalising schemes.

However, he did not miss the opportunity to take a dig at the Congress while assuring that UPA government’s flagship rural employment scheme MNREGA will continue. “I will ensure MNREGA is never discontinued. It is proof of your failings. After so many years of being in power, all you were able to deliver is for a poor man to dig ditches a few days a month,” added the Prime Minister.

Later the motion of thanks was passed by voice vote after the amendment moved by Trinamool leader Saugata Roy fell by a huge margin following division of vote.
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