Congress: BJP government returned to power as Modi was a 'very big salesman'

Published: Jun 25, 2019, 09:47 IST | mid-day online desk

The Congress leader in Lok Sabha later clarified outside the House that he did not mean the comment and blamed it on his poor Hindi

Congress: BJP government returned to power as Modi was a 'very big salesman'

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the Congress party leader in the Lok Sabha on Monday said that the BJP
returned to power as Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a "very big salesman" and Congress failed to gain grounds in the 2019 general election as it could not market its products.

The debutant MP from Odisha who was selected by the BJP to initiate the debate on the 'Motion of Thanks' to the President's speech to Parliament, Sarangi, showered praises on Modi and compared him to Swami Vivekanand, prompting Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury to retort later that he should not compare "monk and monster".

Sarangi, known for his humble lifestyle, also raised nationalism pitch during his nearly an hour-long speech and questioned if those who do not believe in Vande Mataram and raised slogans like 'Pakistan jindabad' and 'Afzal Guru zindabad' have any right to live in India.

He also asserted that "tukde-tukde" gang will not be tolerated.  He said criticising Modi is like "hitting one's head against the Himalayas" and took a dig at the opposition for allegedly seeking proof of Balakot air strike, saying if people "seek proof from their mother for addressing their fathers."

The opposition should respect peoples' mandate for a man with a humble background like Modi, he said and added the BJP's massive win in the Lok Sabha polls was also against the family rule.

Chowdhury responded and said that the Modi government is "compliment-addicted" and is driven by "manipulation", as he took a swipe at Sarangi for "crossing all limits" in his praise for the Prime Minister and likening him to Swami Vivekanand.

"You should not compare between monk and monster," he said.  Chowdhury also used a derogatory term for Modi, drawing strong protests from treasury benches. The Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla ordered expunging of the remark.

The Congress leader in Lok Sabha later clarified outside the House that he did not mean the comment and blamed it on his poor Hindi.

Hitting back at the BJP after Sarangi referred to alleged scams in the sale of 2G spectrum and coal block allocations, he said if there was wrongdoing why are UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi not in jail. "Why are they still in Parliament", he asked.

In his speech, Sarangi said the Congress gave India an "accidental prime minister", a reference to Manmohan Singh, and praised Modi for his strong leadership that ended "policy paralysis", "enhanced" global respect for India, targeted terrorists based in Pakistan and took welfare measures to the poor.

He said the Congress made the BJP realise the importance of strong leadership as policy paralysis was a "new norm" during the ten-year rule of the party with the "accidental prime minister" at the helm.

He said he is grateful to Narendra Modi for making a man like him, who hails from a humble background, a minister. Taking on the Congress, Sarangi said ten years of the Congress-led UPA government was that of "misrule" and "full of corruption".

Emphasising that both Modi and his government are committed to the welfare of the poor and downtrodden, the minister said by 2022 every poor person will have a "pucca" house with toilet.
Listing achievements of Modi government, Sarangi said that poor women were provided gas cylinders and economically weaker sections were given reservation.

"Our goal is to make India a great nation," the BJP MP said. Sarangi also pointed out that Modi has received many international awards.

"We will give the honest government and if you will not help us then people of India will not forgive you," he told the opposition members. Chowdhury accused the government of "political plagiarism" syndrome, saying it claims achievements for everything and ignores the foundation laid down by the Congress.

Invoking former Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, Chowdhury in his one-and-a-half hour long speech listed out the achievements under the Congress Government and accused the BJP of just renaming 19 of the 23 schemes of the Congress party.

"This Government has developed a new syndrome called political plagiarism... Congress party has been contributing to growth (since Independence), but one morning you suddenly say Congress has done nothing and you are doing all development work. It is nothing but a travesty of truth...".

"You are a government which can be called compliment-addicted government driven by manipulation," said Chowdhury who was the first speaker from the Opposition to initiate discussion on the Motion of Thanks.

Saugata Roy of the TMC reiterated his party's stand against the use of EVMs in elections and demanded that the Election Commission revert to the use of ballot papers. Congress leader Sonia Gandhi was seen prompting Chowdhury while he was attacking the BJP in his speech.

"Congress is the soul of the nation. Congress is synonymous with India... For us, country is ahead of the party... Although we have 52 members in the House, but we will continue to fight for the common man," he said.

He said the BJP did not mention Nehru's name in the Presidents address even once and that it does not show Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas attitude of the Government.

Crediting Congress for a slew of government schemes and initiatives like NREGA, RTI, Right to Education and Food Security Act, Chowdhury said, "you talk about hitting back at Pakistan with missiles. These missiles were built during the Congress tenure."

Targeting the Modi government, Chowdhury said the country is reeling under drought, but the government is not worried.

He said BJP MPs did not take steps to alleviate miseries of the people as they think Modi will do everything. "They think that praising Modi is sufficient, he will help them sail through (Modi baba paar lagayenge)," he said. 

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Edited by mid-day online desk with inputs from ANI

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