Jammu: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday, in a stinging dig at his political detractors, stated that his government restored peace and normalcy in J&K which made it possible for one and all to “visit, enjoy trip there or undertake Yatra with Tiranga and it would pose no threat to harmony there.”
In a reply to the Motion of Thanks on the President's Address in the Lok Sabha, PM stated his government ensured that a festival of democracy was being celebrated in J&K with tricolour fluttering atop every household with pride and cinema theatre was running 'houseful' with no separatist in sight.
In a veiled attack on the Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, the Prime Minister said, “Jammu and Kashmir too figured (in the debate) here. The references to it (UT) have been made here. Those, who have just returned after enjoying a trip to Jammu and Kashmir recently, would have themselves witnessed the peaceful atmosphere prevailing there; they, themselves, would have earned a first-hand experience as to how they (anyone) could go and visit J&K without any hassles; roam around and enjoy (their trip) there (in J&K) now with an ease, pride and without any fear.”
Aiming another barb at his detractors in the opposition benches, Rahul Gandhi and Congress in particular, though without naming them or anyone, the Prime Minister recalled his own “Yatra to J&K” at the beginning of the last decade of 20th century and indirectly drew parity with “Bharat Jodo Yatra” (of Rahul).
“Honourable Speaker Sir, at the beginning of last decade of 20th century, I too had undertaken a “Yatra” to J&K with a resolve to unfurl tricolour at Lal Chowk and that time the terrorists had pasted posters threatening against any such move. They challenged to see whose mother had nursed such an intrepid, gallant soul who could prove his heroic courage to unfurl the tricolour at Lal Chowk. This warning was issued in the posters pasted by the terrorists. That time on January 24, I too had dared them in a public rally in Jammu. My dare was - I would come there at Lal Chowk on January 26 at 11 am without security and bullet-proof jacket (vest) and then and there (at Lal Chowk) we would decide as to who was actually nursed by his mother on what. It happened that time (at the peak of terrorism),” he said.
“After that resolution was accomplished, speaking to the media, I had stated - Generally when the tricolour is unfurled on August 15 and January 26, it is done amid a ceremonial 21-shot (gun) salute by Indian armed forces personnel and that sound echoes pride and honour for the national flag. But here (at Lal Chowk) when I unfurled tricolour, the enemy country was also offering gun-salute, exploding bombs,” the Prime Minister reminisced.
Reference was to “Ekta Yatra” undertaken under the leadership of senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi in 1992 when Modi along with one of the party's patriarchs (Joshi) had unfurled tricolour at Lal Chowk in Srinagar when the terrorism was at its peak in J&K.
PM Modi asserted, “The peace, which has been restored today in J&K, has made it possible for anyone to visit there. Hundreds of people can roam around peacefully, without any fear. This atmosphere has been created there. And even in the tourism sector, J&K, after many decades, has shattered a number of records (with the influx). Today, a festival of democracy is being celebrated in J&K. This is the era we have brought in J&K where every household is celebrating this festival with tricolour, fluttering with pride. Such successful celebrations encompassing all households are being witnessed across J&K.”
“I’m happy (with this change) as there are some people who once used to say that unfurling tricolour would disturb the peace. There were people who would fear that peace and harmony would be disturbed in J&K if tricolour was unfurled there. But see how the time changes and thus changes the perceptions also. Now such people, who would oppose it once upon a time, are also undertaking and participating in “Tiranga Yatra”,” the Prime Minister chuckled.
Ingeniously, the Prime Minister also used the occasion to convey as to how his government successfully ensured return of peace and normalcy in J&K by quoting the example of “houseful theatres” in Srinagar when Rahul was undertaking his yatra. This time again, it was an oblique yet stinging dig.
“Honourable Speaker Sir, many would have missed out that very significant news which found a place in many newspapers. During that time only, when some people were busy hogging limelight and enjoying their flashy images on the TV screens, after decades, (cinema) theatres were running ‘Houseful’ in Srinagar. And there were no separatists around. Entire nation has just witnessed this heartening spectacle,” he said.
IANS REPORTED FROM NEW DELHI
Launching a stinging counter attack on the Opposition without referring to the allegations levelled against the government of favouring the Adani group, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday that the weapons of falsehood and lies cannot defeat him, as he is a member of a larger family called the 'poor of India'.
The Prime Minister also dismissed the allegations levelled against him by the Opposition leaders as baseless.
Replying to the motion of thanks on President's address in the Lok Sabha, the Prime Minister said that at a time when a family is busy protecting its own interests (referring to Gandhi family), he has stood for the rights of the poor.
Playing the development card, Modi tore into the Opposition by saying that those who indulge in abuses will forever wallow in disappointment and frustration.
Amid continued interruption by the Congress and Trinamool Congress legislators during the Prime Minister's address, Speaker Om Birla said that many members levelled allegations without any proof during the discussion on motion of thanks, therefore all parties should come together to pass the motion unanimously.
The motion was adopted unanimously in the Lok Sabha.
“The poor people who were only remembered during elections are now getting free ration, uninterrupted electricity, water connection, toilets, gas connection and roofs over their heads, something which was not given to them for all these years,” Modi said.
“The poor will not believe in the cheap allegations levelled against their son Modi,” he said.
He also mentioned how peace is now prevailing in Jammu and Kashmir, which has even given the courage to some people to carry out their 'Yatra' (referring to Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Yatra).
In his 90-minute speech, Modi used couplets from Kaka Hathrasi and Dushyant Kumar to take constant jibes at the Opposition.
Due to vote-bank politics, the middle class was long neglected, but the NDA gave this class its due through digital advancement, cheaper home loans, RERA, affordable higher education and reasonably priced medicines, he said.
Amid chants of “Modi! Modi!” by the treasury bench and counter sloganeering of "Adani! Adani!" by the Opposition members, the Congress members staged a brief walk out during the Prime Minister's address.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi came to the House almost 40 minutes into Modi's speech, after which his party members returned to the House.
Modi also launched a full-blown attack on the Congress over the various scams which took place during the tenure of the erstwhile UPA regime.
Prior to the commencement of Modi's reply, members of the Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS) staged a walk out from the Lower House.
Launching a vitriolic attack on the Opposition, the Prime Minister said that even as India is emerging as a confident and progressive nation, some people cannot stomach the achievements of its own countrymen.
"Is it just because you lost an election (referring to Gujarat elections)? These people blame EVMs and the Election Commission when they lose elections. They blame Supreme Court when probes are opened against them, they blame the Army and even the RBI, the list is endless," Modi said.
"These people (referring to the Opposition) feel that just by abusing me they can succeed. Constructive criticism is good for a healthy democracy. However, for the past nine years now, they have only abused me, instead of coming out with constructive criticism," he said.
He also asked the Opposition to indulge in self retrospection.
Despite several economic crises engulfing the world, it is a matter of pride that India is now the fifth largest economy, Modi said.
The Prime Minister said that it is due to India's rising economic stability, possibilities and dependability as well as a stable and decisive government that several international economic agencies are now looking at India in a new light.
"We undertook reforms out of conviction, not out of compulsion, because we have a stable and decisive government," Modi said.
However, despite India emerging as a confident nation which dares to dream, some people are drowned in the ocean of dissatisfaction and hopelessness, the Prime Minister said while attacking the Opposition.
One main reason behind the disappointment and frustration of the Opposition was the poor state of economy between 2004 and 2014 (the UPA regime) and how inflation had risen to double digits during that period, coupled with rampant joblessness, Modi said.
“They cannot stomach the fact that the nation has now progressed after the era of terrorism, unemployment and joblessness, which was the hallmark of UPA's tenure," the Prime Minister said.
The government's voice at global platforms was so weak during 2004-2014 that nobody was ready to listen to it, Modi added.
"UPA's main achievements were 2G scam, cash for vote scam and Commonwealth Games scam," the Prime Minister said amid jeering by the treasury bench.
UPA's decade was a "lost decade" while 2020s is "India's decade", the Prime Minister said.
In contrast to UPA's 'failures', the Prime Minister highlighted how the government's efforts towards developing its own vaccine and even distributing it to many nations have been appreciated by several nations at global platforms.
Several unicorns and startups have emerged in the country and today India is among the leading nations in the fields of sports, education, technology, renewable energy and mobile technology, the Prime Minister said.
He also listed the achievements of the NDA government in developing railways, airports, inland waterways and highways as well as the peace prevailing in the northeast.