Congress alleges people fearful under Modi regime; BJP says India prospering (Roundup)

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New Delhi, Feb 6 (IANS) The Congress on Tuesday alleged that communal forces raising their head and there was sense of fear among people under the Narendra Modi government while the ruling BJP members said that the country was transforming rapidly and welfare measures were reaching all sections.

The members were participating in the motion of thanks to the President’s address in the Lok Sabha. The discussion was taken up amid protests by TDP and YSRC members who were demanding fulfillment of promises to Andhra Pradesh, including those in the State Reorganization Act.

Several members, including Congress’ Mallikarjun Kharge and Jyotiraditya Scindia, took part in the lively debate which was initiated by BJP member Rakesh Singh. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was present in the house during part of the debate, is expected to reply to it on Wednesdayw.

Kharge, in his over hour-long speech, attacked the government, alleging that “communal forces were raising their head, weaker sections were being suppressed, the freedom of speech was being snatched and women and children were not feeling safe”.

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Also attacking Modi over loss of lives due to frequent ceasefire violations in Kashmir, he asked where was his “56-inch-chest.”

Congress President Sonia Gandhi repeatedly said “shame, shame” as Kharge attacked the government. He demanded a loan waiver for farmers and said the Women’s Reservation Bill should be brought in the next session of parliament.

Referring to Rafale deal to purchase fighter jets from France, he alleged that NDA government was purchasing them almost at three times the price negotiated by the UPA government. The party demanded a white paper on the deal.

Accusing the Prime Minister of only ensuring industrialists benefit and doing little for the farmers, poor and Dalits, he said Modi should change his anti-corruption slogan “Na khaunga, na khane dunga” to “Na khaunga, na khane dunga pur doston ko zarur khilaunga (Will not indulge in corruption, will not allow to others to do so but will make my friends benefit).”

He said Modi may have given a good speech in Davos but investors will be hesitant to come on learning of attacks by cow vigilantes and amid reports of violence from places in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

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He also accused the government of misusing Aadhar, saying the government wants to crate fear and keep everyone in its “control.”

Scindia said there was intolerance, and “each citizen was feeling fearful and helpless”. “Will this be the image of New India,” he asked.

The government, he said, never listens when told of its mistakes or that its foreign policy lacks direction. Referring to Doklam, he said China has firmly established its military in the area.

“The same is the situation in Tibet. There is an attempt to encircle India. There are one lakh Chinese soldiers in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and we are watching. There is also helplessness vis-a-vis Pakistan,” he said.

“The economic policy is also directionless and the agrarian crisis has spread like wildfire,” he said. Referring to unemployment, he said government leaders talk of youth selling “pakodas”.

BJP MP Prahlad Joshi meanwhile slammed Congress leader P. Chidambaram’s comments on Modi’s remarks about selling the fried snack also being a kind of employment.

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Joshi, who was the second speaker from the ruling party, compared Chidambaram’s remarks to earlier remarks by Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar, who had referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as “chaiwala” or a tea seller.

“He (Chidambaram) is insulting poor people. First you insulted Modi for selling chai in childhood, now you are insulting ‘pakoda wala’ (fritter sellers),” he said.

Singh said: “After 10 years of corruption, this (government) was a pleasant change. The change is coming about fast and reaching all sections of people.”

Trinamool Congress’ Kalyan Banerjee dared the BJP to hold simultaneous elections in all BJP-ruled states, along with parliamentary polls, in keeping with the idea being pushed by Modi.

Shiv Sena MP Anandrao Adsul said: “We should first earn the trust of the people and then the trust of alliance partners. The debacle in Rajasthan bypolls is a bitter lesson for the BJP.”

CPI-M’s Mohammad Salim said statements from BJP’s allies also reflect the major trust deficit in the government.



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