New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered his much-anticipated response on the Manipur violence during the concluding day of the No-Confidence motion on Thursday. He described the strife-torn state as his “jigar ka tukda” (piece of my heart). The Modi government won the No-Confidence vote as the Opposition staged a walkout in the middle of his speech. The outcome was on the expected lines given the brute majority of the BJP-led NDA. The motion was decided on a voice vote.
This was the second No-Confidence motion brought by the Opposition against the Modi government. The first was in 2018, which was also won by the Modi government. The Prime Minister’s speech also seemed to be aimed at the forthcoming 2024 General Elections as he urged the Opposition to bring another No-Confidence motion in 2028.
“The Opposition’s ill will brings us good luck,” the Prime Minister quipped in his over 130-minute reply in Lok Sabha. Modi claimed that by the end of 2028, “India will rank in one of the top three economies in the world.”
After the Opposition walked out demanding his statement on Manipur, the Prime Minister delved into the issue in detail. Firing at the empty Opposition benches, Modi claimed that the Opposition was “never serious about Manipur,” and that’s why “they ran away from the debate today.” He claimed that the “Opposition was afraid to discuss Manipur and derailed the debate.”
The Prime Minister condemned the violence, assault on Manipur’s “mothers and sisters,” and asserted that “the nation is with Manipur.” He blamed the Congress for past violence, insurgency, and neglect of Manipur. The Prime Minister referred to the Union home minister, Amit Shah’s speech on Manipur, saying that “Amit bhai had discussed everything in detail, rising above politics.”
The Prime Minister claimed that the government “will find a way to bring development in Manipur on track.” He assured, “peace will be restored in Manipur.” Amidst chants of “Modi, Modi” and thumping of desks, the Prime Minister spoke of all the “firsts” that happened in Manipur under the NDA rule, including the airports.
Launching his tirade against the Opposition, keeping Congress as his main focus, the Prime Minister said that their main slogan is – “Modi teri kabr khudegi” (A grave is being dug for you, Modi). Taking a jibe at Congress leader, Rahul Gandhi’s “mohabbat ka dukan” remark, the Prime Minister claimed that it was actually “loot ka dukan, jhoot ka dukan, ghotala ke dukan, parivarvad ka dukan.” “Jhoot ke bazar mein loot ki dukan hai,” he said.
Responding to Rahul Gandhi likening him to the Hindu demon god “Ravana,” Modi hit out – “Lanka was burnt because of Ravana’s arrogance.” Then came the Modi sting – “arrogance has brought you (Congress) from 400 to 40.” Without naming Gandhi or his outfit, the Prime Minister quipped: “they have been repeatedly trying to launch and relaunch a failed product.” For Modi, the Opposition house, particularly that of Congress “is like a ruin, which was being plastered.”
He claimed that “even the Gandhi name was stolen.”
In an unsparing attack on Gandhi on his references to ‘Bharat Mata’ and wondered why some people “wished for her death.” He said that such remarks “hurt the sentiments of every Indian.” He went on, “these are the people (Congress) who divided Maa Bharati into three pieces. When the time came to free Maa Bharati of slavery, they chopped off her limbs.”
The Prime Minister talked about how the previous regime “trusted Pakistan more whenever a terrorist attack took place but never paid heed to the feelings of the citizens of the country. Modi said Kashmir was burning in the fire of terrorism, but the Congress government did not believe the common man. “They used to trust the Hurriyat, they used to trust the separatists, they used to believe those who carried the Pakistani flag,” he said.
Speaking of dynasty politics, Modi claimed that Congress leaders were “unhappy” as a “poor man’s son has become the Prime Minister.” He said that cakes were cut in aircraft but today they were used to transfer vaccines. “They used to get dry-cleaned clothes by air. Earlier Indian Navy ships were used for parties. Today they are used to bring back our people from conflict places,” said Modi. He also attacked the Congress for trying to ignore “stalwarts” like B.R. Ambedkar, Ram Manohar Lohia, and Jagjivan Ram.
“Opposition has made an unsuccessful attempt to break the confidence of the people in the garb of the No Confidence Motion,” said Modi. He also pointed out how the Congress was “disappearing” from all the states across the country. He attacked the Opposition alliance-I.N.D.I.A by claiming that it was a conglomeration of “corrupt and opportunistic” leaders. He reiterated his “ghamandiya” alliance jibe.
Mocking the Opposition no-confidence motion, Modi said that he had given them five years to prepare for the motion in 2018, but they did not do their homework properly. He said that Opposition parties had set the pitch, but it was the treasury benches which hit fours and sixes during the debate.
“The Opposition is bowling only no-balls in the No-Confidence motion. There are centuries being scored from this side and no-balls being bowled from that side,” he said. “…In 2018, I gave them (Opposition) a work – bring No Confidence Motion in 2023 – and they followed my words. But I am sad. In 5 years, they should have done better. But there was no preparation, no innovation, no creativity…I will give you another opportunity for 2028. But I urge them that when they bring the No Confidence Motion in 2028, they come prepared,” said Modi.
“In a way, Opposition’s No-Confidence has always been lucky for us. Today, I can see that you (Opposition) have decided that NDA and BJP will come back in 2024 elections with a grand victory, breaking all previous records, with the blessings of the people,” he said. Modi said a simple change of name from UPA to INDIA will not change the fortune of the opposition alliance. He said that in the coming days, the Northeast is going to be a center of development due to movements in the global system in South-East Asia and ASEAN countries.
He lamented the tendency of winning elections through reckless assurances and people are being put under tremendous pressure as development projects are being shelved. The Prime Minister said that all the target institutions of the Opposition’s criticism like HAL, banks, and LIC invariably shine and called it the ‘Opposition’s secret boon’.
“Whoever they wish bad for, ends up doing well,” he said, asking investors to invest in companies which are criticised by the Opposition.