News Analysis |
On February 7 2018, India’s Prime Minister issued merciless statements against the Congress in Lok Sabha starting from the partition-caused by congress’ wrong policies. He also said, “If Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel would have been the first PM of the country, entire Kashmir would have been ours.” He criticized Congress throughout his speech and blamed the party for not taking country forward. He added, “Congress should not teach us [a] lesson on democracy. It crushed the opposition voices.”
Modi has further accused Congress of nurturing only one family instead of focusing on the whole country. India has a rich history as it has many instances of rich democratic traditions that go back centuries. Moreover, democracy is integral to India and is in its culture, he said. “The Congress has been promoting its dynasty politics and securing just one party’s interests- the Nehru-Ghandhi family.”
Recent developments have revealed that the Congress may not remain secular for much longer either as Rahul Gandhi, the president of the party, has begun campaigning in temples across India.
Modi’s Congress bullying didn’t go unnoticed. Hours later, Congress President Rahul Gandhi hit back saying the Prime Minister was dwelling on the past as he “does not know how to take India forward.” He continued, saying “We are happy with the Prime Minister to be obsessed with the Congress party but it is a dis-service for our Prime Minister to spend [so] much time on the Congress and so little on the future of the nation. The nation has reposed its trust in the Prime Minister. It expects the Prime Minister to respond with seriousness towards its problems.”
On one hand, Modi was campaigning during his speech in Lok Sabha. His criticism on Congress from partition to the crises in Kashmir stressed on the fact that he was actually invoking his government’s commitment to facilitate basic amenities of life such as clean food, better education and facilities, accommodation and good infrastructure.
One must realize that in a democratic country, agitation and political differences do exist but what matters is how much a party or the whole political system facilitates its masses. Hence, Modi’s government should also face the public to address their problems such as poverty and unemployment.
The next elections in India will determine the direction India will go. Will they continue to stick to right wing politics and follow the likes of Modi or vote for the Congress party in the hope of getting a more secular left wing party in charge?
According to the opposition parties, all the salient points in Modi’s speech were just a way to secure the elections in Lok Sabha. During his 90 minute speech, the opposition disrupted many times. The continuous criticism on Congress by Modi may be because of the constant criticism on his government’s management of the economy especially in terms of generating jobs as well as BJP’s loss of both seats to Congress in the Parliamentary by-elections in Rajasthan.
Instead of glorifying the old history of India, Modi’s government should perhaps focus on the it’s achievements and targets it hopes to achieve. Interestingly, Modi sought to blame some of the political controversy in Andhra Pradesh to the Congress, saying the division of the state (which happened when the United Progressive Alliance party was in power) wasn’t done well and further accused the Congress of having traditionally not done justice to the state. He mentioned how the Congress “insulted Neelam Sanjiva Reddy, a proud son of Andhra Pradesh”.
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The PM used the speech to highlight how Kerala, Odisha, Karnataka and West Bengal have all claimed to create one crore jobs and said: “Is that not employment? These are not governments run by our party,” in response to the criticism over unemployment.
BJP members of parliament have also made controversial statements against Muslims. BJP member Vinay Katiyar recently told all Muslims in India to “go back to Pakistan and Bangladesh”.
Turning the tables on the Opposition for attacking him over his alleged silence, Modi said, “For the benefit of the nation I maintained silence when you said whatever you wanted. I worked silently but now the time has come for the people to know the truth.”
Modi may have made daring statements against the Congress party but that does not hide the dismal performance of his government since coming to power in 2014. Under the BJP government, the right wing Hindutva ideology present in Indian society has become a part of the mainstream narrative. Attacks against minorities, especially Muslims, have increased exponentially. BJP members of parliament have also made controversial statements against Muslims. BJP member Vinay Katiyar recently told all Muslims in India to “go back to Pakistan and Bangladesh”.
The next elections in India will determine the direction India will go. Will they continue to stick to right wing politics and follow the likes of Modi or vote for the Congress party in the hope of getting a more secular left wing party in charge? Recent developments have revealed that the Congress may not remain secular for much longer either as Rahul Gandhi, the president of the party, has begun campaigning in temples across India