Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday stunned everyone when he, just after delivering a fiery speech against the NDA government’s policies, walked across the green-carpeted well of the Lok Sabha to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s desk to hug him. Hours later, it was the Prime Minister’s turn to reply to the allegations levelled on his government by the opposition leaders. When he began his reply, Rahul’s surprise gesture did nothing to soften the PM’s counter-attack. Modi flayed the Congress during his nearly 90 minutes long speech as he gave a stinging point-by-point rebuttal to each allegation by Gandhi and Congress leaders including on the purchase of Rafale fighter jets from France. Here we take a look at the PM’s 10 responses to Rahul’s allegations on several issues:
# Allegation 1: During his speech, Rahul Gandhi said ‘the Prime Minister can’t put his eyes into mine’. Responding to this, the PM said, “He (Rahul) says I cannot see eye to eye with him. Yes, I cannot do so because I am not a naamdar. I am born to a poor mother, I come from a low caste and poor background, I am not privileged like you. In the past too, those who tried to see eye to eye with you their fate was no different be it Sardar Patel or Subhash Chandra Bose. They were all thrown out, they were humiliated. I cannot see eye to eye with you.”
# Allegation 2: Raking up the June 2017 Doklam standoff between Indian and China, Rahul said that while soldiers stood their ground, the Prime Minister could not. He (PM) buckled under pressure from China.
Modi responded: “One of the leaders spoke about Doklam. The same leader, who believed the Chinese Ambassador over our forces. What have we come to? Everything does not merit a childish conduct.”
# Allegation 3: On Rafale deal, Rahul during his speech said that the price per plane during the UPA regime was Rs 520 crore but when PM went to France and due to “some magic powers”, the price per plane rose to Rs 1,600 crore. He also accused the Defence Minister of speaking lies on the matter and claimed that the French President had told him there is no secret pact between New Delhi and Paris on the deal.
Narendra Modi replied, “Due to one careless allegation in the House on Rafale, both nations had to release statements. My appeal to the Congress is please do not bring politics in national security.”
#Allegation 4: To the Congress party describing the surgical strike of 2016 as “jumla strike”, Narendra Modi said: “We have seen how the Army Chief was insulted by their (Congress) leaders. You have called surgical strike a jumla strike, the country will not forgive you. You can abuse Modi but not the forces. Stop insulting the jawans of India.”
# Allegation 5: On Congress party targetting the government over rising NPA problem and poor health of banks, the PM Modi said: “I want to tell you about the NPA problem. Much before Internet Banking, Congress Party invented Phone Banking and this caused the NPA mess. A phone call would get loans for their cronies and the nation suffered.”
# Allegation 6: Referring to Rahul Gandhi coming to hug him and his winking act, the PM said: “The entire nation saw what the eyes did. It is clear in front of everyone. In the morning, the voting was not over, the debate was also not over one member comes running to me saying – Utho Utho Utho… What is his hurry to come to power? Let me tell this member it is the people who elected us. That is how we have come here. See who all they are trying to bring together. But they should know we are here because we have the blessings of 125 crore Indians. We are not here for selfish interests.”
# Allegation 7: Responding to Rahul’s “bhagidaar and not chowkidar” accusation, Modi said, “Yes I am a bhagidar in the march of poor for development, but not a “saudagar” or “thekedar” like the Congress.”
# Allegation 8: The Congress president had during his speech said the PM had been benefiting his “industralist friends” while ignoring the youth, farmers, Dalits and women.
To this, the PM replied: “There is a conspiracy to push the country towards violence. These were the people who made fun of Baba Ambedkar but are now singing his praises. Whoever came in front of the dreams and aspirations of one family was pushed to the sidelines.”
# Allegation 9: Referring to TDP member Jayadev Galla, who spoke before him demanding special status be conferred to Andhra Pradesh, Rahul Gandhi said his party was victim of a political weapon called “jumla strike”. He said the BJP government was not interested in addressing the problems of the southern state.
The PM responded: “Then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee created three states: Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand after talking to the people concerned and taking their consent. It was done peacefully. These states are peaceful and prospering. They are contributing to the development of the nation. On the other hand, the Congress divided Andhra Pradesh behind closed doors and their conduct then was shameful. Andhra Pradesh was divided for political gain.”
# Allegation 10: Rahul Gandhi said youngsters believed the Prime Minister when he said that 2 crore jobs will be created every year. “But only 4 lakh jobs were generated by the government.” “China gives jobs to 50,000 people a day, the BJP to 450,” he claimed.
Countering him, the PM said, “Truth was being trampled over in the job debate and the opposition was misleading the country. The government has decided to publish monthly job data and detailed data from the EPFO to lend weight to the argument. Between September 2017 and May 2018, 45 lakh new subscribers joined the EPFO out of which 72% were less than 28 years of age. Taking the EPF and NPS subscribers together, more than 50 lakh jobs were created in nine months. This figure will reach 70 lakh for the full year.”