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Indian premier slams opposition
Publication Date : 07-03-2013
Donning his occasional combat-ready comportment, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday tore into the opposition BJP (Indian People's Party) for calling the Congress “termites” and him a “night watchman” and said with taunting magnanimity that he would not respond to the slur in “that language”.
“You used choicest abuses against us. It is not my intention to reply in that language because our performance is the best judge,” he said turning to the BJP benches amid cheers from his party members. His cutting rebuke in the Lok Sabha (Lower House) was an allusion to BJP strongman and Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s speech at Sunday's National Council meeting in New Delhi.
Singh said the BJP hurled the “choicest abuses” against the Congress leadership and belittled the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s achievements and darkly predicted that the opposition party will face defeat at the hustings next year like it did in 2004 and 2009.
Replying to the discussion on the motion of thanks on the president’s address, Singh dealt with multiple issues ranging from the state of economy to India’s stand and options on the US resolution against Sri Lankan at the UNHCR vote and from Pakistan to the situation in the Maldives.
Quoting Urdu couplets and Hindi proverbs to telling effect, Singh sought to torment L K Advani, saying the BJP lost the 2004 polls after its “India Shining” campaign and faced defeat against in 2009 when they pitted their “iron man” against the “lamb that Manmohan Singh is”.
“I am confident that the people will again elect us in the next elections based on our performance,” Singh said amidst thumping of desks by the treasury benches. “Jo garajte hain, woh baraste nahi (Thunderous clouds do not bring showers),” he said.
In his speech, Singh noted that the average economic growth rate of the country in nine years of UPA rule was 7.9 per cent, while the six years of NDA rule recorded a GDP growth of 6 per cent. He said while the current slowdown in industrial growth remains a concern, his government will continue to focus on inclusive growth and would need more investments. There was a need for further efforts to boost growth, he said.
Earlier, the opposition members attacked the government on various issues ranging from economic policies to India's diplomacy. They alleged that there was “uncontrolled” corruption and “ineffective” implementation of welfare schemes. Shahnawaz Hussain (BJP) said the government made big announcements in the President's speech, the Economic Survey and the annual budget but the implementation has been sloppy.
Though the debate was on the motion of thanks, Hussain and a few others made frequent references to the budgets, both rail and general.
Referring to the rail budget, Hussain alleged that its focus was only on Rae Bareli and Amethi, the Lok Sabha constituencies of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul.
Janata Dal United leader Sharad Yadav said that the president's address was silent on major problems facing the nation and listed population explosion and water as two of them.