Anti-Constitution, anti-Dalit, anti-minority — Modi mounts scathing attack on Congress in Rajya Sabha

Anti-Constitution, anti-Dalit, anti-minority — Modi mounts scathing attack on Congress in Rajya Sabha

New Delhi: Continuing his scathing attack on the Congress in Rajya Sabha, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday accused the party of being the “biggest enemy of the Constitution” and harbouring an anti-Dalit mindset — evident in its alleged strategy of making Mallikarjun Kharge, the party’s Dalit president, the face of its repeated electoral defeats.

In his reply on the Motion of Thanks on the President’s address in the Upper House, the Prime Minister also spoke extensively on Manipur. While his government is taking all necessary steps to ensure that normalcy returns to the violence-torn Northeast state, the people of Manipur would reject those who were eager to fan the flames, he said, alluding to the Congress.

The Rajya Sabha witnessed unruly scenes during the PM’s over-one-hour speech with the Opposition demanding that Leader of Opposition Kharge be allowed to speak, before eventually walking out.

On Tuesday, Modi had delivered an over-two-hour speech in the Lok Sabha amid non-stop shouting by opposition members, who also stormed the Well of the House.

The Rajya Sabha walkout prompted Modi to pause his speech as Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar interrupted the proceedings to express his “anguish” over the “amaryadit” (improper) behaviour of the Opposition. By staging a walkout, the Opposition had shown its back to the Constitution and belittled the oath they have taken as MPs, Dhankhar said, adding: “There cannot be a bigger insult of the Constitution.”

The Prime Minister, who faced similar scenes in the Lok Sabha Tuesday, said the Opposition was unable to digest their electoral defeat, and had therefore resorted to sloganeering and running away from the battlefield.

A day after he mocked the Congress for portraying its result as a “victory”, Modi reiterated that the party was trying to “black out” the mandate of the people by misrepresenting it.

‘Anti-Constitution, anti-Dalit’ 

Sharpening his attack on the Congress party, Modi repeatedly questioned its commitment to the Constitution, and said it was fundamentally an anti-Constitution party.

“It was said here that this was the first election of the country whose issue was protection of the Constitution,” he said. “I would like to remind them, will you still continue to run this fake narrative? Have you forgotten the 1977 elections when newspapers, radio were banned, and even speaking was not allowed? The country voted on only one issue — re-establishment of democracy. No other election to save the Constitution has been bigger than that,” he said.

He also asked which constitutional provisions allowed the formation of the National Advisory Council (NAC), which sat like a “remote pilot” on the constitutional post of the Prime Minister during the UPA rule. He asked which constitution allowed an MP to tear an ordinance passed by the Cabinet, referring to a 2013 ordinance brought by the UPA government to shield convicted lawmakers from immediate disqualification from the House, and Rahul Gandhi.

Raking up the issue of dynasty, the PM, who referred to Gandhi as a “shehzada”, said the party has always given importance to “the family” over those who sit in constitutional positions. “I say with all seriousness that Congress is the biggest opponent of the Constitution.”

At a time when several post-election analysis and assessments, including by the BJP, have suggested that the fear of the Constitution being tweaked by the BJP if voted back to power with a huge majority, adversely impacted the party’s performance — especially among Dalits and OBCs — the PM said that the government would take the Constitution to every nook and corner of the country to create awareness among people.

The Constitution Day, which he said was resisted by the Opposition, when announced by the government in 2015, will be celebrated as a jan utsav and rashtra utsav, he said.

Modi also accused the Congress of propping up Dalit leaders whenever it anticipated defeat because of its “anti-Dalit” mindset. “Congress party mein Dalit pichde ko maar jhelni pad rahi hai aur parivar bach ke nikal jata hai,” he said, arguing that the party appointed Kharge, a Dalit leader, to carry the burden of its electoral defeats while the Gandhi family walked away without any responsibility.

The party did the same when it fielded Kodikunnil Suresh as its Lok Sabha Speaker candidate last month against BJP’s Om Birla even though it was beyond doubt that Birla would win the election, Modi said. “Dalit ki bali chadhayi (they sacrificed a Dalit), even though a defeat was obvious,” he added.

It is because of the party’s “anti-Dalit” and “anti-OBC” mentality that it fielded Meira Kumar as the presidential candidate in 2017, and Sushil Kumar Shinde as the vice-presidential candidate in 2002 — two occasions when they were bound to lose, said the PM.

‘Congress misused investigative agencies’

Taking a jibe at the Opposition for claiming to guard the interests of minorities, the Prime Minister asked why Congress’s allies said nothing about what happened with minorities in Turkman Gate and Muzaffarnagar during the Emergency, referring to the massive demolition drives and forced sterilisation programs in Muslim-majority areas.

He also questioned the purported contradictions within the AAP-Congress alliance, arguing that the Congress had levelled charges of corruption against the AAP government, which the central agencies investigated.

“AAP ki shikayat kare Congress, aur karwahi ho toh gaali do Modi ko?” he asked. He also mocked Gandhi for calling for the arrest of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, with whose party the Congress is in alliance at the national level.

Modi also attacked the Opposition for levelling charges of misuse of investigative agencies by his government. He read out statements of late Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav and CPI(M) leader Prakash Karat from 2013, where they had accused the UPA government of misusing the CBI for political gains. He also read out the Supreme Court’s 2013 description of the CBI being a “caged parrot speaking in its master’s voice”.

“I would like to say without hesitation that I have given a free hand to agencies to take stringent action against corruption and the corrupt,” he said. “The government will not interfere anywhere. They should work honestly for honesty… I would like to tell the citizens that no corrupt (person) will be safe from the law. Yeh Modi ki guarantee hai.”

The Prime Minister spoke extensively about Manipur. Attacking the Congress for its alleged doublespeak on the issue, he said the party should not forget that it had to resort to President’s Rule in the tiny state ten times.

Reiterating his assurance to students who were affected by paper leaks, Modi said the Opposition had politicised an issue that affected the lives of the country’s youth. Meanwhile, he lauded his government for ensuring that terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir was in its “final stages” currently.

Exuding confidence over his third term, Modi said he was grateful for the Opposition’s “one-third government” prophecy, as it meant that his government had completed 10 years at the Centre and that it would stay in power for at least 20 more years. The Opposition has taunted the third Modi government for being a “one-third” government as it is now dependent on the TDP and the JD(U) for its survival.

Modi argued that as someone who has been a chief minister before becoming the PM, he greatly valued cooperative and competitive federalism, and it was in this spirit that he ensured that G20 programmes were organised throughout the country, and not just in the national capital. Even during Covid, there was unprecedented communication with chief ministers, the PM said.

Suggesting that his government would remain pro-reform in its third term, he said there would be minimum government in people’s lives, and that the central and the state governments should not be scared of reforms.

(Edited by Tikli Basu)

Also read: ‘Balak buddhi’ Rahul & ‘conspiracy against Hinduism’ — Modi’s blistering attack on Oppn in Parliament


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