Narendra Modi in Rajya Sabha | Videograb: YouTube: Sansad TV
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a fresh broadside against the opposition on Thursday, saying their "keechad" (dirt) of allegations will only help the lotus bloom more and asserting he alone outweighs all who had to take turns to shout slogans to oppose him.
Thumping his chest, Modi declared that he lives for the country and wants to do something for the country, which has rattled the opposition parties and they are playing political games just to save themselves.
"Desh dekh raha hai, ek akela kitno ko bhari padh raha hai (the country is watching how one person has outweighed so many)," he said as the opposition members kept shouting "Modi-Adani, bhai-bhai".
Unperturbed by the jeering, Modi finished his 90-minute speech in reply to a debate on a motion thanking the President for her address to a joint sitting of Parliament, and listed various achievements of his government.
With members of the treasury benches chanting "Modi-Modi", he pointed at the opposition MPs who had gathered in the Well of the House in a bid to shout him down and said, "Naare bolne ke liye bhi unko badal karna padhta hai (they have to take turns even to shout slogans)."
"Ek conviction ke karan chala hoon, desh ke liye jeeta hoon, desh ke liye kuch karne ke liye nikla hoon (I live for the country and have embarked with the conviction to serve the nation)," he said, adding his political opponents are playing games as they do not have the courage to take him on.
The opposition, he said, is resorting to this to save themselves.
Replying to the Congress charge that the BJP was ignoring Jawaharlal Nehru's efforts in nation building after Independence, Modi retorted that if the first prime minister was so great, why have his scions never used his surname.
As he rose to speak, opposition MPs, some holding placards, rushed into the Well shouting slogans against the prime minister and seeking a joint parliamentary committee probe into allegations levelled by the US short-seller Hindenburg Research against tycoon Gautam Adani.
Hitting back, Modi said, "Jitna keechad uchaloge, kamal utna hee zyada khilega (the more dirt you fling, the bigger the kamal - the election symbol of BJP - will bloom)."
"Keechad unke pass tha, mere pass gulal. Jo jis ke pass tha, usne diya uchal," Modi quoted Manik Verma's poem in response to the allegations opposition parties levelled on him and his government.
Roughly translated, it means they had dirt and I had 'gulal', whosoever had whatever they flung in the air.
Opposition parties used the debate on the motion to attack the government for Adani group's phenomenal rise during the last few years.
In his reply, Modi accused the Congress of adopting only "tokenism" in solving problems the country faced and said it was bothered only about its political ambitions and not the welfare of the nation.
"We don't believe in tokenism. We have chosen the path of hardwork in taking the country forward," he said, adding technology was being used as an aid in this mission.
He accused the Congress of trampling on the rights of states and regional parties by dismissing elected governments on 90 occasions by "misusing" Article 356 of the Constitution. "Who are the people?" he asked and responded that Indira Gandhi alone had used the article 50 times to dismiss governments.
"This country is not anyone's fiefdom. Our policies reflect national and regional aspirations," he said. "But these people who are now sitting (with Congress), I want to expose them today."
He then narrated how elected governments of the Left in Kerala, NT Rama Rao in Andhra Pradesh, Sharad Pawar in Maharashtra and M G Ramachandran in Tamil Nadu were dismissed by the Congress. And today these parties are sitting along with the Congress, he said.
"NT Rama Rao's government was dismissed when he was in the US for medical treatment," he said, adding M G Ramachandran must be turning in his grave seeing his DMK align with the Congress.
He also alleged that the Congress had committed sins in the past and is now trying to mislead the country.
The prime minister warned states against resorting to populist measures for political gains, saying it would be "anarth-niti" (disastrous policy).
With many parties in states promising freebies and reverting to heavy cash outflow schemes like old pension in run-up to elections, he cited examples of near bankruptcy in neighbouring countries to say that they should not play with the financial health and economic policies. "Do not do any such sin which leaves the burden on the next generation."
Attacking the Congress, he said the party named as many as 600 schemes after the Nehru-Gandhi family.
The Congress, he charged, was against science and technology and it defamed Indian scientists who developed indigenous COVID-19 vaccines.
"They do not leave any chance to defame our scientists," he said, adding attempts were being made even "till yesterday".
Modi also accused the previous Congress governments of ignoring the welfare of tribal communities and small and marginal farmers.
While the Congress-led governments believed in "tokenism", the current regime is trying to find permanent solutions to issues facing the countries, he said.
Modi further said during the Amrit Kaal -- the period up to centenary of India's Independence -- his government would aim to provide benefits of all welfare schemes to everyone and achieve 100 per cent saturation levels, and put an end to any scope for appeasement on the basis of caste and religion.
"Saturation of every welfare scheme is true secularism for us....This also eliminates discrimination and corruption," he asserted.
He listed various achievements of his government - from eliminating waiting period for getting cooking gas to opening bank accounts for everyone and providing electricity connections.
The effort was to create a brighter future and not look at political gains, he said.
"Some people's behaviour and language are disappointing not just for the House but for the country," he said in oblique reference to the allegations opposition parties levelled on him.
Later, the Motion of Thanks on the President's Address was adopted with voice vote.