In a blistering rebuttal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today mocked Rahul Gandhi for gesturing him to stand from the seat before the now-famous hug, saying the Congress leader was in a hurry to unseat him and grab the PM’s chair, as he dubbed the no-trust vote an act of “arrogance”.
Modi also dared the Opposition to bring a no-confidence motion against his Government again in 2024 — a remark seen as his confidence in returning to power next year — as he gave a point-by-point retort to the charges levelled by Gandhi.
During his nearly one-and-half hour long reply to the Congress leader’s hug-capped scathing attack, Modi also took a dig at the Congress president’s apparent post-hug wink in Parliament saying the entire nation saw what the eyes did today, as he made gestures with his hands and eyes to show Gandhi’s action.
Gandhi’s hug to Modi and the subsequent ‘wink’ after coming back to his seat prompted a furious discussion about the appropriateness of his actions, even as the Modi government won the trust vote by 325-126 votes after a 12-hour long debate.
Replying to the no-confidence motion moved by the BJP’s former ally TDP and supported by Congress among other opposition parties, Modi said only the 125 crore people of the country can decide who would sit in the prime minister’s chair or who can be unseated.
“What is the hurry,” Modi said, while referring to Gandhi’s hand gestures when he came across to PM’s chair and hugged him during the non-confidence motion debate.
Modi looked nonplussed initially and did not stand up, but recovered quickly and called Gandhi back and patted him on the back.
In another swipe at Gandhi’s apparent slip of tongue in saying that the prime minister could not see him eye-to-eye, Modi said, “You are a ‘naamdaar’ (known by name) and I am ‘kaamdar’ (known by work). I cannot dare see you eye-to-eye.”
The Prime Minister went on to list names of leaders like Sardar Patel, Subhash Chandra Bose, Chandra Shekhar and Pranab Mukherjee who he said tried to see eye-to-eye with the Congress and the result is known to everyone.
Referring to the Dokalam stand-off, he said, “When the whole country was united at the time of Dokalam, you (Gandhi) met the Chinese envoy.”
On Gandhi’s allegations on the Rafale aircraft deal, he said “we must abstain from making childish statements on sensitive issues.”
He also termed the surgical strikes being described as ‘jumla strike’ an insult to the security forces.
In his reply, Modi asked all Lok Sabha members to dismiss the non-confidence motion, which he said was driven by arrogance and Congress’ attempt to test its own probable allies.
“Arrogance is behind the no confidence motion,” Modi said and hit out at the Congress, saying this is not the floor test of the government but a “force” test of the main opposition party and its so-called allies.
Modi also hit out at Gandhi’s “bhagidar” (collaborator) remark, saying he is a ‘chowkidar’ and a ‘bhagidar’, but not a ‘saudagar’ (trader) or ‘thekedar’ (contractor) like the Congress president.
Rahul had said an industrialist under a debt of Rs 35,000 crore was given a contract in the Rafale deal and he benefitted to the tune of Rs 45,000 crore, while asking the Prime Minister to answer if the Cabinet Committee on Security took the decision.
Asserting that some people are indulging in “negative” politics, Modi said he was not doing politics of appeasement or vote bank.
“We have been working with ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’ mantra,” he said.
Modi said the NDA government has done several things for the benefit of the people, but the opposition does not believe in the facts. “We are taking steps for doubling the income of farmers by 2022,” he said.
The Prime Minister said the opposition, especially the Congress does not trust the Chief Justice of India, the Election Commission and the electronic voting machines.
He said “those who dont have confidence in themselves, cannot trust anyone.”
“I pray to God to give you the strength to bring a no- confidence motion in 2024 also. My best wishes are with you”, Modi said.
He said the major opposition party had brought the no-trust motion “to spread instability in the country.”
“Had it not been your arrogance, and had you understood the problems of the states, GST would have been implemented five years ago,” the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister also condemned the incidents of rape and atrocities against women and said “any instance of violence brings shame to the nation.
“I will once again urge the State Governments to punish those who indulge in violence,” Modi said in an apparent reference to the cases of mob lynching and assured that his government stood with the Muslim women in their quest for justice.
He blamed the Congress for division of the country at the time of the independence, as also for division of Andhra Pradesh in a manner which had left the people there unhappy.
Modi said when the TDP decided to pull out of NDA, he had warned its leader N Chandrababu Naidu that his party was “getting entangled in a race of one-upmanship with the YSR Congress.
Modi said the NDA government is committed towards the development of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
He said the government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee had created Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.
“It was done peacefully. These states are prospering … The Congress divided Andhra Pradesh and their conduct then was shameful,” he said.
Earlier, Congress president Rahul Gandhi launched blistering attack on the BJP mascot, accusing him of being a bhagidar’ (collaborator) in corruption and not a ‘chowkidar’ and saying people were victims of his ‘jumla’ strikes.
Gandhi’s no-holds barred attack at Modi on a range of issues including the controversial Rafale jet deal in his hour-long speech during a debate on the no-confidence motion against the government often sparked loud protests from the treasury benches, but it was his walk across the green-carpeted Well of House at the end to hug Modi that left almost everyone, not the least the Prime Minister, surprised.
Supporting the no-confidence motion, which was first moved by the Telugu Desam Party, Rahul said TDP like many others was a “victim” of BJP’s political weapon called ‘jumla strike’ (gimmickery), “a fantastic political weapon of 21st century”.
Taking on the government on the alleged graft in Rafale jet deal with France, Gandhi said, “I have no hesitation in saying that… Under pressure from the prime minister, Nirmala Sitharaman spoke untruth to the people. Who are being helped? Nirmala ji, PM ji, please tell the country.”
He said the Prime Minister had promised to be a ‘chowkidar’ but had become a ‘bhagidar’.
Gandhi’s speech was marked by noisy protests from the treasury benches as he targeted Modi and projected the RSS, BJP and its top leaders as agents of “anger and hatred”.
He claimed he was expressing the sentiments of a section of the ruling party also, asserting the entire opposition and “some of your people (BJP)” will join hands to defeat them in the elections.
Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah were “different types of politicians” as they cannot afford to lose power unlike the Congress which is okay to losing it and being in and out of power.
The BJP leaders have been acting “out of fear” as “other processes” will start if they lose power and this has generated anger which is “crushing” India, Gandhi said.
Gandhi said he had asked the French president about the Indian government’s claim that it cannot share the price details due to a secrecy pact between India and France. The French leader told him that there was no such pact, he claimed.
“Everybody understands the relationship the prime minister has with certain people. Everybody understands the amount of money that goes into the marketing of the prime minister and everybody knows who have funded that. One of those people was given the Rafale contract.. The gentleman benefitted to the tune of Rs 45,000 crore,” he alleged.
The industrialist is under a debt of Rs 35,000 crore and has never built an aircraft, he said.
Participating in the debate, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah in his maiden speech in the 16th Lok Sabha raised the issue of peace in Kashmir and made an emotional appeal to Government for starting dialogue with Pakistan.
“I am urging you… I am requesting you, for peace in Kashmir, please start dialogue with Pakistan. And I am saying this because I am an Indian…I was Indian and I will die an Indian,” Abdullah said.
AAP MP Bhagwant Mann attacked the Government for “obstructing” the work of his party Government in Delhi and accused Prime Minister Modi of not fulfilling not a single promise made by him.
TDP MP Rammohan Naidu rejected all the BJP leaders’ claims of Centre’s assistance to Andhra Pradesh and said the NDA Government cheated the people of the State.
Countering the opposition’s allegations, Union Minister Anupriya Patel and BJP leader Virendra Singh, citing various initiates and welfare schemes started by Modi Government, said people will again vote them to power.
Patel also mentioned about the Government’s attempt to give constitutional status to National Commission for Backwards Classes (NCBC).
AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi and AIUDF MP Badrudin Ajmal claimed there was a fear among minorities especially muslims and accused the ruling BJP of indulging in divisive politics.
Union Minister and RLSP leader Upendra Kushwaha made an appeal to give special package for Bihar.
INLD MP Dushyanat Chautala and rebel YSRCP MP Renuka Butta also participated in the debate.
RLD MP Tabassum Hassan, who was elected from Kairana in Uttar Pradesh in the recent bypolls, raised the issues related to sugarcane farmers.


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