In his first major speech in the newly-elected Lok Sabha, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called on all lawmakers to work together to help turn India into a five trillion dollar economy and slammed main opposition Congress for not doing enough for Muslims and women. During his nearly hour-long speech in replying to the motion of thanks to the Indian President’s speech to the joint session of parliament last week, Modi said the Congress never recognised the efforts of anyone but only the members from the Gandhi-Nehru family and never spoke about the good work of former Prime Ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee and even of its own leaders P V Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh as PM.
"There are some people who feel only a few names contributed to the national progress. They only want to hear those few names and ignore the others. We think differently, we feel each and every citizen has worked for India's progress," Modi said in his speech that contained hard political points. "Did they ever speak about the good work of Narismha Rao Ji? In this Lok Sabha debate, the same people did not even speak of Manmohan ji," the Prime Minister said on Tuesday.
Modi also reminded Congress of the Emergency imposed by the then PM Indira Gandhi on June 25, 1975 and said it's a blot on the democracy that will never fade. “People were jailed. The whole country was turned into a jail so that one person does not lose power. Democracy is our soul. It was trampled and crushed (during the Emergency).”
He accused the main opposition party of arrogance and said the Congress “has gone so high that it lost touch with the ground reality and considered those on the ground as small and insignificant.” “It is my wish that you rise higher. It is good for us. It is not my dream to rise high, we dream of remaining rooted to the ground,” Modi said.
Modi charged the Congress with having played politics of opportunism on women’s empowerment and minority politics for decades. The Prime Minister asked the Congress to give up its opposition to his government’s fresh parliamentary Bill criminalizing instant triple talaq saying it was an opportunity for the opposition party not to repeat its past mistake.
“You lost a chance in 1961 to bring uniform civil code. Instead, you brought the Hindu code. In the Shah Bano case (over maintenance to divorced Muslim women) in 1980s, you had a chance to rectify the gender injustice, you again missed it. Now after 35 years, we have brought a Bill and you have another chance to help Muslim women,” Modi told the
Congress lawmakers. The Bill against the instant triple talaq was placed in the Lok Sabha a few days ago. The Shah Bano case relates to a 1985 judgement of the Supreme Court that awarded maintenance to a divorced Muslim woman. The verdict was later overturned by the Congress government of Rajiv Gandhi through a law by using its overwhelming majority in parliament apparently under pressure from the Muslim clergy.
Speaking about the strong mandate of the recent parliamentary elections, Modi said the people of India have re-elected a stable government once again after evaluating its performance. “The 2019 Lok Sabha elections shows that the people of India are thinking about the good of the nation. This spirit is wonderful”, he said.
Modi said his government never diverted from the development path nor diluted the development agenda. “It is important that the country progresses, every Indian is empowered and our nation has modern infrastructure.” He said "I think beyond winning and losing elections. I strive for the welfare of the countrymen. For me, what is satisfying is the opportunity to serve 130 crore Indians and do work that has made a positive difference in the lives of our citizens," Modi said.