Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah on Monday made his debut speech on the floor of the Rajya Sabha to which he was elected from Gujarat last year. The party president, who initiated the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address, today defended the BJP-led government at the Centre on the fourth day of the ongoing Budget Session of Parliament.
Here are 10 key takeaways from Amit Shah’s address in parliament:
1. Responding to the Congress’ criticism on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks in an interview that a man earning Rs 200 per day by selling ‘pakodas’ could also be considered as employed, BJP chief Amit Shah said that it was better to be a labourer instead of being unemployed. “If a poor person sells ‘pakodas’ today, it is possible that the generations after him end up being industrialists. If a ‘chaiwalla’s’ son can become the Prime Minister, anything is possible,” he said.
2. The BJP chief took strong exception to Congress leader and former Finance minister P Chidambaram’s tweet where he cited the PM’s remarks to suggest that even begging should be considered a job. Amit Shah said that making and selling ‘pakodas’ is not shameful, but “equating it with begging” certainly was.
3. Speaking on unemployment, the Bharatiya Janata Party chief also blamed “55 years” of Congress’ rule in the country for the widespread malaise. “We have been in power for only seven to eight years. This problem (unemployment) would not have become so humongous if effective steps were taken during those 55 years,” Shah said.
4. Training guns at the Congress, Amit Shah said that the Modi government had inherited a “big crater” and most of the government’s time and resources have gone into filling it. Shah cited policy paralysis to drive home his point on the adverse circumstances that the country was in before the BJP came to power in 2014. “For 70 years this country was run just by one family. At one point people started believing that this is how things will be. They had lost hope. Today, there is a new hope, an optimism across the country.”
5. The BJP chief also mentioned surgical strikes during his speech and said that in 2013, “even those guarding the borders of this country could not show their valour due to government’s indecisiveness.” Amit Shah said that the BJP government has given the armed forces the power that it needs to counter threats. “After the surgical strikes, India showed to the world that after the United States and Israel, India is the only country that can go to any extent to protect its armed forces and its people.”
6. The Bharatiya Janata Party president also enumerated the government’s achievements on the floor of the Rajya Sabha. Amit Shah cited the Congress’ “Gabbar Singh Tax” jibe against the government over GST and said that the party takes a different stand on GST in Parliament, a different stand on it in states and yet another in GST Council meetings. Shah also credited the BJP government of making the implementation of the GST in a country as vast as India and said that the BJP was never against the GST but the way the Congress was handling it.
7. Shah said the BJP government had taken a clear stand against the practice of ‘triple talaq’ and was committed to protecting the rights of Muslim women to live without fear and with dignity. The BJP president again took the attack to the Congress and said that the SC verdict declaring the practice illegal wasn’t the first of its kind. “It had given a verdict on the Shah Bano case as well but was stopped through a legislation brought by the Congress party,” he said.
8. Amit Shah also credited the government for its work on building toilets under the Swachh Bharat Mission. By working towards eradicating the practice of open defecation, the Bharatiya Janata Party chief said the government had worked towards restoring the dignity of women who could now concentrate on building their careers and leading a dignified life rather than worrying about going out in the open to relieve themselves.
9. Shah also congratulated the government for the implementation of One Ran One Pension (OROP) scheme, a longstanding demand of the armed forces. Shah said that successive governments came and made tall promises on OROP but did not go further than making “Rs 100 crore allocation in budget speeches”. Shah said it was the Modi government that walked the talk on OROP and made it a reality.
10. Amit Shah also lauded the government’s efforts towards providing 1.5 times the Minimum Support Price (MSP) to farmers for their crops, which had so far been restricted to being an election promise.Shah said the BJP government under Modi has made it a reality. He also cited the trouble farmers faced in procuring urea, which he said the current government had made easy through neem-coating.