The real ‘parasite’ is BJP, it has devoured many regional parties: Jairam Ramesh

The Uncut

New Delhi. Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh on Thursday hit back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his “parasite” remark, saying the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is a “parasite” in the true sense as it has a history of wiping out many regional parties.

He also said in a conversation with ‘PTI-Bhasha’ after the conclusion of the Parliament session that the first session of the 18th Lok Sabha has shown that a “new and aggressive” opposition has emerged in the form of the ‘India’ alliance. Ramesh alleged that Prime Minister Modi talked about consensus before the beginning of the session, but chose the path of confrontation inside the House.

He said, “The first session of the 18th Lok Sabha definitely saw two things in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. A new, aggressive, revitalized opposition has emerged in the form of the ‘India’ alliance which should be there in a democracy. But at the same time, we have not seen any change in the attitude, approach, behavior of the ‘non-biological Prime Minister’.” The Congress leader claimed that the 2024 election result was a personal, political and moral defeat for Prime Minister Modi, but the way he allowed Parliament to operate did not reflect this.

Ramesh said, “He (Modi) called for consensus outside Parliament, but chose confrontation inside Parliament. There is no evidence that there is going to be any change in his stance, but there is evidence that the opposition is going to remain aggressive, active.” The Rajya Sabha member said, “We hope that the government will realize that this is a mandate for a coalition government, it is a mandate to take people along and it is also a mandate to listen to all those parties which are not part of the National Democratic Alliance.” When asked about Prime Minister Modi’s comment calling the Congress a “parasitic” party, Ramesh targeted the BJP.

He said, “Only a ‘parasite’ can use that word. Look at the track record, how regional parties were eaten up by the BJP.” Ramesh said, “Today, the Biju Janata Dal stood with the ‘India’ alliance in the Rajya Sabha during the entire session. So if there is anyone who is a parasite, it is the BJP.” Responding to the nearly 18-hour-long discussion on the motion of thanks on the President’s address in the lower house, Modi had termed the Congress as a “parasite Congress” and said that it eats up the vote bank of regional parties.

Ramesh also said that the BJP tried to twist Rahul Gandhi’s comment on Hinduism in the Lok Sabha, while the Leader of Opposition had said that the BJP cannot be the contractor of Hinduism. When asked about the Prime Minister’s indirect attack on Rahul Gandhi by calling him ‘childish intellect’, he said that it should be known what ‘child Prahlad’ did to Hiranyakashyap. The Congress leader also claimed that Defense Minister Rajnath Singh lied in the House regarding the ‘Agneepath’ scheme, while what Rahul Gandhi said is true.

Uncontrolled air pollution crisis is the result of Modi government’s failures: Congress

The Congress on Thursday alleged that the public health crisis caused by “uncontrolled air pollution” in the country is a result of the failures of the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as it has prioritised the profits of the Prime Minister’s friends over the health of the people of India. Citing an international study, party general secretary Jairam Ramesh said that about 34,000 deaths are occurring every year due to air pollution in 10 cities of India.

Ramesh said in a statement, “Thousands of Indians are dying every year due to uncontrolled air pollution. According to a new study published in the prestigious medical journal “The Lancet Planetary Health”, 7.2 percent of all deaths in India are related to air pollution. About 34,000 deaths are occurring every year in only 10 cities.” He said that Delhi is the worst affected, where 12,000 deaths occur every year and thousands of deaths also occur in less polluted cities like Pune, Chennai and Hyderabad. According to the Congress leader, the study found that even low levels of PM 2.5 pollution can cause many deaths.

He alleged that this public health crisis is a direct result of the failures of the government of the “non-biological Prime Minister”, which has prioritised the profits of the Prime Minister’s friends over the health of the people of India. Ramesh claimed that since 2017, the Modi government has repeatedly extended the deadline for installing pollution-controlling FGD equipment for coal-fired power plants, leading to thousands of deaths, and all this has been done for the benefit of the plant owners.

He said, “The prices of LPG cylinders are skyrocketing. Due to this, ordinary families are being forced to cook on stoves instead of LPG. As a result, the condition of indoor air pollution has worsened.” He says that the Air Pollution (Control and Prevention) Act came into existence in 1981 and the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) were implemented in November 2009. But, in the last decade, the public health consequences of air pollution are very clear in terms of both the number of diseases and mortality. Ramesh said, “Now the time has come to revisit both the Act and the NAAQS and completely reform it.

There doesn’t seem to be much scope for an alliance between Congress and Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi and Haryana: Jairam Ramesh
Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh said on Thursday that there does not seem to be much scope for an alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the assembly elections of Delhi and Haryana. However, the ‘Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance’ (INDIA) will remain in the assembly elections of Maharashtra and Jharkhand. Ramesh also said in a conversation with ‘PTI-Bhasha’ that this alliance will remain in those states where the leaders of Congress and allies want.

Both Congress and Aam Aadmi Party are the components of ‘India’ alliance. In the Lok Sabha elections, both the parties had contested together in Delhi and Haryana, but in Punjab, both had contested separately. Assembly elections are to be held in Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Haryana in October-November this year. Assembly elections are proposed in Delhi early next year.

When asked whether the ‘India’ alliance will continue in the upcoming assembly elections, Ramesh said, “It will continue for the Jharkhand assembly elections, it will continue for the Maharashtra assembly elections. There is no ‘India Janbandhan’ in Punjab.” He said that in Delhi, a statement has come from the Aam Aadmi Party that there will be no ‘India Janbandhan’ for the assembly elections.

Ramesh said, “I had said in the context of West Bengal that ‘India Janbandhan’ is for the Lok Sabha elections. In the states where our leaders and the leaders of other parties want an alliance, there will be an alliance.” He also said that in Maharashtra there is an alliance with Shiv Sena (UBT) and Nationalist Congress Party (NSP) and in Jharkhand there is an alliance with Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM).
When asked if there would be an alliance between the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi and Haryana, Ramesh said, “There doesn’t seem to be much scope for that.”

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