Prime Minister Narendra Modi today dismissed opposition attempts at unity as an opportunity for the BJP and mocked Congress president for hugging him in Parliament, virtually calling it clingy behaviour.
At a farmer’s rally, on his third visit to politically crucial Uttar Pradesh, Modi questioned the motive behind the no-confidence motion moved by the opposition in the Lok Sabha.
“Hum karan poochtey rahe avishvas ka, karan nahi bata payey to gale pad gaye,” he said.
Roughly translated, the phrase conveyed unwanted clingy behaviour: “We kept asking the reasons for their no confidence, they failed to answer but clung to my neck.”
The reference was to Rahul Gandhi’s gesture yesterday during the debate – walking up to the prime minister’s seat in the Lok Sabha and giving him an unreciprocated hug.
Modi also played with words to assert that the Bharatiya Janata Party’s election symbol – the lotus – will rise from the mud in the 2019 general election.
“If one dal (party) is added to another dal, then it becomes dal-dal (muck), which is favourable for the ‘kamal’ to bloom,” he said, in an apparent reference to the opposition’s unity attempts.
Modi said the opposition’s bid to join hands is an opportunity for the BJP.
During his nearly 45-minute speech, Modi said the opposition was merely running after the prime minister’s post while ignoring the poor, the youth and farmers.
“Are you satisfied with what happened in Lok Sabha,” he asked the people at the rally in Uttar Pradesh’s sugarcane belt.
“Have you come to know who is at fault? They are not looking at the poor and the country but have their eyes only on the PM’s chair,” he said.
“Have I done anything wrong? I am only working for the poor and the country, fighting corruption – and this is my crime,” the prime minister said.
Accusing the previous governments of lacking the will to help farmers, Modi listed the decisions taken by his government for them.
It was for the first time in the country, he said, that a government has decided to allow mills to produce ethanol from molasses and sugarcane juice.
Modi said the government has hiked the fair and remunerative price (FRP) of sugarcane by Rs 20 to Rs 275 per quintal for the 2018-19 marketing year, which begins in October.
Shahjahanpur is the biggest wholesale grain market and a prominent sugarcane growing district in Uttar Pradesh.
This was his third visit to the state which sends 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha in less than a month. Barely a week ago, he addressed rallies in Varanasi, Azamgah and Mirzapur.
A large number of farmers from adjoining districts of Hardoi, Lakhimpur Kheri, Pilibhit, Sitapur, Bareilly and Badaun attended today’s rally, Modi’s first public address after his party won the no-trust vote.
“We kept telling them that people’s mandate is supreme in democracy and it will prove costly for them to go against it. But it looked that they were obsessed to teach a lesson to Modi and remove him,” he said.
He said the real power in a democracy rested with the 125 crore people of the country and the Constitution.
The prime minister said he had understood the opposition party’s designs and will not allow them to succeed even if the ‘bicycle’ (the Samajwadi Party’s election symbol) teamed up with the ‘elephant’ (Bahujan Samaj Party).
Without taking names, he recalled former Congress prime minister Rajiv Gandhi’s infamous admission of corruption in the system, when his party was in power from the panchayat to Parliament.
“Which was that ‘panja’ (a reference to the hand symbol of the Congress) which made one rupee turn into 15 paise,” he said.
“We have found a way out and with the help of technology. The money is now directly going into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries,” Modi said.
Elaborating on the his government’s welfare schemes, he said 18,000 villages have been electrified and rued that even this move was condemned by some people.
“If villages remained in darkness even 70 years after Independence, who was responsible? We have decided that all households will have electricity by 2019,” he said.
“We are trying to get your houses electrified but they are moving about in Parliament with the chit of no-confidence,” he said.
Modi also hailed the efforts of Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government in Uttar Pradesh over the past year, saying it has won the trust of the people.