Rajat Sharma

Congress must have the courage to listen to Modi’s reply

AKBPrime Minister Narendra Modi launched another blistering attack on Congress in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday and alleged that the “very thought process of Congress has now become destructive. This has become an issue of national concern as urban Naxals are trying to exploit the poor condition of Congress to hijack the party’s line of thinking.”

In plain words, Modi wanted to convey that the present Congress leadership is now “in the grip of urban Naxals”. Modi was reacting to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s remarks in Lok Sabha in which he had said that the Constitution nowhere mentioned India as a nation, it only mentioned India as “a union of states”. “Naxals”, Modi said, “have hijacked the Congress party’s mindset. It is this which has led Congress leaders to level baseless allegations about rewriting of history by the present government”.

In fact, Modi replied to every allegations levelled by Congress and other opposition leaders during the debate on Motion of Thanks to the President for his opening speech to Parliament. Modi enumerated the work done by his government, but when he started speaking on dynastic politics, it rattled most of the Congress MPs present inside the House. Modi described how the Congress devoted most of its political time in the service of one dynasty (Gandhi-Nehru). “To protect a dynasty, Congress imposed Emergency in 1975. The massacre of Sikhs in the aftermath of Indira Gandhi’s assassination in 1984 and the huge exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley took place because of the Congress.

Modi attacked all the four generations of Nehru-Gandhi dynasty beginning with India’s first prime minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, followed by Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and now, Rahul Gandhi. He reminded Congress members of how Mahatma Gandhi, soon after independence, had advised that the Congress party should be dissolved.

“I am thinking what could have happened had the Congress not been there. Because it was Mahata Gandhi’s wish. Mahatma Gandhi knew what would have happened if the Congress continued. It was because of this that he said, Congress should be wound up. Had there been no Congress, in deference to the wishes of Mahatma Gandhi, what would have happened? Our democracy would have remained free from dynastic politics, India would have marched forward on Swadeshi instead of putting on “foreign spectacles”.”

“ Had there been no Congress, there would not have been the darkest spot of Emergency. Had there been no Congress, corruption would not have been institutionalized since decades. Had there been no Congress, the divides of casteism and regionalism would not have deepened. Had there been no Congress, there would have been no massacre of Sikhs and Punjab would not have burnt in the fire of terrorism for years. Had there been no Congress, Kashmiri Pandits would not have left the Valley. Had there been no Congress, daughters would not have been burnt in ‘tandoor’. Had there been no Congress, the common man would not have been forced to wait for houses, electricity, water, roads, toilets and other basic facilities for years.”

Replying to Congress leaders alleging that the present government was trying to rewrite history, Modi replied: “In this House, it was alleged that we are trying to change history. I find that the Congress has been caught in a vice like grip of Urban Naxals, who have practically taken over their very thought process. That is why, their thinking and activities have now become destructive. This is a matter of concern for all of us. We will have to think seriously. The Urban Naxals have cleverly exploited the poor state of Congress and have occupied their thought process. That is why, they are saying that history is being rewritten. We want to correct the memory of some people.’

“ We want to increase their memory power. We are not changing history. For some people, history began a few years ago. They feel fine in their 50-year-long history. Some take it back to 100 years, and feel fine. We are taking it 200 years back, some take it to 300 years back. Now, if you take history back to 300 and 350 years, the name of Chhatrapati Shivaji will surely crop up. We are sharpening their memory, we are not changing history. For some people, history is confined to only one family, but our history is vast. There are many dimensions, ups and downs, and we are trying to delve into history over a long-term period. To forget our glorious history will not be good for our country’s future. We realize our duty, and taking lessons from history, we are aiming at creating confidence among people to take our country to new heights over the next 25 years. I think this ‘amrit kaal-khand’ (period of next 25 years from now) will move on this note.”

Modi did not spare even Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru for his role during the Liberation of Goa. Modi said: “Goa was liberated 60 years ago. Had Nehru followed Sardar Patel’s initiative by annexing Hyderabad and Junagadh to India, the people of Goa would not have remained under Portuguese occupation for 15 more years. Goa was liberated 15 years after India attained independence. Newspaper reports 60 years ago clearly show that, at that time, Pandit Nehru was worried about his international image if the Indian army attacked Goa. This was Nehru’s point of concern. He thought if the colonial government in Goa was attacked, his own image as a peace-loving leader on a global level would be broken to pieces. Nehru thought, let the people of Goa suffer, my image must not suffer. That is why the Portuguese police was firing bullets at our satyagrahis who were Indians. And our Prime Minister saying, I will not order my army to move to Goa. Nehru clearly refused to help the satyagrahis. This was the atrocity committed by Congress on the people of Goa. Goa had to suffer for 15 more years of foreign rule, and many sons of Goa had to give their supreme sacrifice. People had to live under the shadow of lathis and bullets.”

With no-holds-barred attacks from Prime Minister Modi, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi should not have any excuse to object. In most of his speeches, tweets and press conference, Rahul launches attacks on Modi, and the Prime Minister gave back to him in a sharp manner, in both House of Parliament. Even on Tuesday, after Modi’s reply, Rahul Gandhi reacted by saying that “Modi fears us. He did not reply to the points I raised”. Since last eight years, Rahul had been using catch phrases like ‘suit-boot ki sarkar’, ‘Adani Ambani ki sarkar’, against Modi government. Sometimes Rahul says, Modi has destroyed this country, Modi fears China, Modi is a dictator. There are umpteen such examples when Rahul Gandhi used harsh words against the PM. So, if Modi attacked Rahul and his party on the issue of dynasty, on imposition of emergency, on Sikh massacre, and on exodus of Kashmiri Pandits, what mistake did he commit? Was Modi committed political error in reminding the Congress, how over several decades, it dismissed the governments of Namboodiripad, Karunanidhi, MGR, N T Ramarao, Charan Singh, Devi Lal and others?

Rahul had been complaining that Modi is only working to benefit his industrialist friends. If the Prime Minister replies by saying how farmers are getting more minimum support prices directly into their bank accounts, if farmers are getting direct money transfer from the Centre, not a single person died of starvation during the pandemic, more than 80 crore Indians got free rations from the Centre, nearly 100 per cent Indian adults have already taken their first dose of Covid vaccine, nearly 80 per cent Indian adults have taken both doses of Covid vaccines, lakhs of poor Indians have now got their own houses, five crore Indians have now started getting drinking water from taps, what wrong did Modi commit?

Those who level allegations must have the courage and patience to listen to replies. Democracy is not a one-way traffic.

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