Modi quotes Rajiv to take dig at Gandhis
His appeal was however not without launching personal, albeit indirect, attack on the Congress party and its leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi.
Modi began the reply by saying that the MPs should follow the advice of the President on the functioning of Parliament. He added the House was where debates should take place, but at the same time sanctity of the debates should be maintained.
The Prime Minister, while seeking the help of the Opposition in running the House simultaneously repudiated points made by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday while speaking on the same motion.
Saying that the nation was anxious at repeated logjam witnessed in Parliament, Modi tried cornering the Congress party by invoking former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who had disapproved of house disruptions.
He did not stop at that but also recalled statements made different leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, first President Rajendra Prasad and former speaker and veteran Marxist Somnath Chatterjee against stalling of legislative business. Appealing to the entire opposition to extend their support for the passage of important legislations like the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, Waterways Bill and Consumer Protection Bill, Modi said laws emanating out of these bills would end role of middlemen in the system.
The Prime Minister claimed that when Parliament was disrupted MPs from the opposition benches suffered the most as they could not discuss issues of public interest. However, he also added that it could be because of the “inferiority complex” suffered by some Opposition leaders (indicating Rahul Gandhi) that they do not want more talented leaders from their ranks to speak in the House and emerge out of their shadow.
Countering some of the allegations made by Gandhi on Wednesday, Modi said NDA government was making efforts to strengthen MGNREGA and the Food Security Act but rejected the claim of Congress that these two schemes were their products. While he chose to reply to Gandhi’s allegations on economic matters, he did not speak on the JNU and Rohith Vemula controversies, Pakistan visit and black money.
However, he countered the claim made by the Opposition on the environment of intolerance prevailing in the country. Referring to an instance in USSR in the post-Stalin era, Modi recalled President Nikita Khurshchev’s quote where he said people could take umbrage at him for speaking against Stalin because he was different from him. Then taking a dig at the Opposition specially the Congress he said, “You would take time to understand.”
Referring to acrimonious exchanges inside the House, Modi said, “Sometimes we indulge in these acts to attract media attention. This is very dangerous. ‘Tu tu, mai mai’ (blame game) attitude by political parties for scoring points, makes officialdom happy and in the bargain the nation suffers.”
The House later adopted the motion after several amendments moved by the Opposition benches were negated by the majority.