Rajat Sharma


akb The assertion by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha that he and his party would return to office in May this year with a landslide victory of more than 370 seats, and that his NDA alliance would cross the 400 mark reflects his strong confidence. Normally Modi refrains from speaking about the number of seats his party is going to win in any election. His assertion appears to be his reply to the claims being made by the opposition parties that they would unite and defeat BJP in this year’s Lok Sabha polls. In his last major speech in the current Lok Sabha, Modi dealt with all major issues raised by the opposition. One oft-repeated charge levelled by the opposition is about the government misusing investigation agencies like CBI and ED against leaders in order to “intimidate” them. Even on Monday, former Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren, currently in ED custody, and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal made the same allegation. Modi told the Lok Sabha that come what may, and whatever leaders may say, his government would continue to take action against those who looted the nation’s money. Modi gave in Parliament a comparison of properties seized by ED during the last ten years of his rule (Rs 1 lakh crore) and during 10 years of UPA rule (Rs 5000 crore). Modi emphatically said, neither the action against the corrupt will stop nor would they be allowed to go scot-free. The money they looted from the nation will have to be returned, he said. In his speech, Modi outlined the achievements of his government during the last ten years and confidently said that he would form his government for the third time. Modi described the opposition alliance as a non-starter which is “out of alignment” and said that the Congress “may have to shut shop”. In a swipe at the opposition, he said, “I think after the next election they may have to find a seat in the visitors’ gallery”. Modi also explained his version of ‘dynastic politics’. He said, “we are not opposed to more than one person from the same family entering politics. What we describe as dynastic politics is a situation, when the family controls the party and the family’s interest becomes paramount. Family-controlled parties are not good for democracy”. In a way, Modi set the tone for his party’s forthcoming election campaign and drew a longer line for the opposition. In his 100-minute speech, Modi spoke six times about winning a third term. Modi also spoke about employment and price rise issues. He said, despite two wars and Covid pandemic, which have damaged the economies of many other countries, prices are under control in India and very soon, India is going to become the world’s third largest economy. Modi reminded how during former PM Indira Gandhi’s rule, inflation rate had once touched 30 per cent. On employment, Modi explained how new job opportunities have multiplied because of infrastructure projects like ports, airports, highways, etc. and loans under Mudra Yojana are being given to youths directly. Modi’s speech, in a way, is his message which the party workers to going to convey to the masses as the dates of Lok Sabha elections approach nearer.

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