Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday told the Lok Sabha that the country’s voters would repose their faith in his leadership for a third successive term, predicting that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would win 370 seats and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) cross more than 400 seats.
In his nearly 100-minute reply to the motion of thanks to the President’s address, his last of the current term of the Lok Sabha, the PM talked about “Modi’s guarantee”.
The PM said it’s “Modi’s guarantee” that India would become the world’s third-largest economy in the third term of his government, which would lay the foundation for building India of the next 1,000 years.
He said India would become the world’s third-largest economy in the third term of his government, which would lay the foundation for building the India of the next 1,000 years.
The prime minister said he would continue to wage a battle against corruption, would not allow the looting of the country’s resources, and asserted that probe agencies were independent.
The PM said the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government’s ten years saw assets worth Rs 5,000 crore seized under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. In contrast, he said over Rs 1 trillion worth of assets had been seized during his government’s tenure since 2014, utilised for the people’s welfare.
The PM accused the previous Congress-led governments of lacking in imagination in their ambitions for the country. He said the Congress governments were sluggish in rolling out welfare schemes and lethargic in implementing infrastructure projects, contrasting their record with his government’s since 2014.
To the Opposition’s caveats that India would become the third-largest economy with or without the government’s push, the PM alluded to the UPA government’s 2014 Interim Budget speech. In that speech, Modi said, the finance minister spoke about India set to become the third-largest economy in 30 years, or by 2044. “The UPA would have waited for 30 years, but India would be the third-largest economy in Modi’s third term,” the PM said, adding that his government constructed 40 million houses for the poor in 10 years, which the UPA, with its slow pace of work, would have taken 100 years to complete.
The PM spoke of his government’s welfare schemes and policy decisions for empowering the “four pillars” for a developed, prosperous India: the youth, the poor, women, and farmers. He spoke of the progress in the digital economy, tourism and aviation sectors that have and will lead to innumerable job and self-employment opportunities for the youth and contrasted his government’s record in checking inflation despite two wars and a once-in-a-century pandemic against that of the Congress governments.
The PM said the Opposition had lost the nerve to fight the Lok Sabha polls. As he prepares for a third successive term, which would match the record of Jawaharlal Nehru, Modi referenced Independence Day speeches of both Nehru and Indira Gandhi, where they purportedly spoke of the poor work culture and lack of diligence among Indians, to buttress his point that the “Congress royal family” thought “little of the country’s people” and failed to check price rise. He said the Congress rule has always heralded inflation.
The PM accused the Congress of suffering from “cancel culture”, which had it criticise Make in India and Aatmanirbhar Bharat initiatives. “But these are the country’s achievements, not Modi’s. How long will you nurse such hatred (for me) that you will cancel the country’s successes?” the PM said.
Modi differentiated between dynasty-run political parties, where decisions are made by and for one family, versus family members of politicians, such as Rajnath Singh and Amit Shah, who were present in the House and joined active politics.
The PM noted the Congress’ attempts at repeatedly re-launching the same product, a reference to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, was a disservice to the nation as the country deserved a more vigorous opposition. He said the Congress constantly disrupted parliamentary proceedings in the last 10 years lest its younger MPs eclipsed the dynast. He stated the Opposition, by its conduct in the previous 10 years, had guaranteed that it would continue to sit in the Opposition for decades to come and predicted that it would secure a smaller number of seats in the forthcoming elections than it did in 2019, and worse might end up sitting in the Lok Sabha’s visitors’ gallery.
In a reference to Rahul Gandhi contesting from Kerala’s Wayanad, the PM said the Congress leader could be looking for a new seat, while others could enter the Rajya Sabha. There is speculation that Sonia Gandhi could opt for the Rajya Sabha, instead of defending her Rae Bareli seat. He said the Congress worshipping the dynasty led to Mallikarjun Kharge “shifting” from the Lok Sabha to the Rajya Sabha and Ghulam Nabi Azad “shifting” to a new party. The PM said the devotion to one family brought the Congress to a stage where its “shop” could soon be locked.
In a response to the Congress demand for a caste Census and Rahul Gandhi pointing out the representation of members of the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) was poor, the PM said the Congress insulted OBC leaders, such as Karpoori Thakur. He asked whether there was any OBC representation in the “extra-constitutional” National Advisory Council (NAC) that he said ran the UPA government. “I am surprised that they have shut their eyes to the biggest OBC in the government,” Modi said, pointing to himself. On national security, Modi accused the Congress of trying to disintegrate the country again by its members demanding a separate country and accused it of acting as an “agent”.
The PM faulted the Congress for its inability to lead the Opposition, the trust deficit in the Opposition bloc and how “those training to be a motor mechanic couldn’t fix the alignment of the alliance”.
He said his government spent its first term filling the ditches left by the UPA years, the second term laying the foundation on which the structure of a developed India will be constructed in the third term. He listed the successes of the 10 years of his government, including the repeal of Article 370 and the construction of the Ram temple, spoke of the shift in the society’s attitude towards women, and how the “vocabulary of the youth” had transformed to talk of start-ups, unicorns, gig economy, and digital creators. The PM said his government tried to usher in the formalisation of the economy, ensured that youth got jobs and social security, and pointed out that 180 million new subscribers had been added to the EPFO in the last 10 years.
The PM said the Budget for infrastructure in the UPA’s 10 years was Rs 12 trillion, while it’s been Rs 44 trillion in the last decade. He identified India’s self-sufficiency in energy, strides in semiconductor manufacturing, improvement in the quality of jobs, and training of India’s workforce for Industry 4.0 as targets for the next decade.
In the December 2022 Gujarat elections, the Modi-led BJP had set the target of winning more seats than the Madhavsinh Solanki-led Congress won in 1985, which it eventually did. From his Wednesday’s Lok Sabha remarks, the PM indicated that the BJP-led NDA has set the target of surpassing the Congress record of winning 414 seats in the 1984 Lok Sabha polls. The Congress, led by Rajiv Gandhi, won 404 seats in the December Lok Sabha polls, and another 10 seats later when elections to Punjab and Assam Lok Sabha seats were held in early 1985.