Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed Rajya Sabha on Wednesday (7 February) during 'Motion of thanks on the President's Address'. Here are 18 key highlights of his speech:
1. Targets Kharge: Expressing his sympathies for his criticisers, PM Modi thanked Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge "especially" and said that he fulfilled the hollowness that was being felt at the Lok Sabha.
He said that Kharge spoke extensively as there were no commandos thinking "Aisa mauka phir kahan milega" (when will one get such opportunity) and thanked him for blessing the NDA with 400 seats.
2. Targets Congress: Modi said that Congress' thinking got outdated and hence, it outsourced its work. "We express sympathies with you, we are not happy," the PM said on the downfall of Congress. However, expressed that the party doesn't want to improve itself.
"Congress strangulated democracy, many times dissolved governments chosen by the people, arrested opposition leaders, tried silencing newspapers... As if this was not enough that now they are creating North-South divide," Modi added.
3. Congress failed country: "Congress let separatism and terrorism breed, pushed northeast into backwardness, made Naxalism a challenge for the country, gave country's land mass to enemies, this Congress will teach us national an internal security!," Modi exclaimed.
He said that the Congress couldn't decide whether to do nationalisation or privatisation. He pointed out that the Congress brought India's economy from number 12 to number 11 and is preaching economic to the Modi government.
4. Social justice: Modi said that Congress, who didn't give reservation to OBCs, is now teaching social justice to his government. Without naming Rahul Gandhi, he said that there is no guarantee of Congress' leader and they are giving guarantees to people.
"Congress is anti-Dalits, Adivasis. If Baba Saheb (Ambedkar) would not have been there, I do not know even SC and ST could have got reservation or not," Modi said attacking Congress.
5. Targets Congress' history: Quoting former Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and Rajeev Gandhi, Modi highlighted the "policy paralysis" during Congress rule.
Claiming that the Congress was deeply influenced by Britishers, Modi pointed out that Congress let colonial mindset breed in the country by following British-made rules.
He highlighted the inferior complex attached with native languages and Indian traditionas and culture, colonial symbols on emblems of our security forces and colonial criminal laws.
6. Remembering Nehru: "I am remembering Nehru ji more often these days because our colleagues request for it," Modi said and read an "on record" letter written by Jawaharlal Nehru to country's Chief Ministers.
"I dislike any reservation, especially in jobs. I am against any system that encourage non-merit and take country to a second-class state," Modi said reading Nehru's letter and alleged that the former PM thought reservation is detrimental to the country.
7. Jammu-Kashmir: "Congress kept SCs, STs and OBCs of Jammu-Kashmir devoid of their rights for seven decades and they could get their rights only after removal of Article 370," Modi said.
He highlighted the plight of Valmiki community people who were not given domicile rights in Jammu-Kashmir and that the Lok Sabha passed a bill for reservation to OBCs in local bodies of Jammu and Kashmir yesterday only.
8. Calls out Congress's "casteism": Modi said that BJP government gave Bharat Ratna to BR Ambedkar as Congress disregarded him. He highlighted the treatment met to former Congress president and backward caste leader Sitaram Kesari as he was "thrown out".
He highlighted that the BJP government gave the country its first tribal President and said Congress opposed it because Droupadi Murmu is a tribal.
9. Reads a poem: "Modi ki guarantee ka hai daur, (it's an era of Modi's guarantees), Naye Nharat ki hai bhor, (it's sunrise for new India)
Out of warranty chal rahi dukaane, (out of warranty shops), Khoje apni thaur (search for their places).
10. Congress' reign of ruin: "Remember under whose rule, BSNL and MTNL were ruined, HAL was in a bad condition, who ruined Air India, LIC was also criticised," Modi said targeting 10 years of UPA rule.
He said that the same BSNL is now working on made-in-India 4G and 5G, HAL is generating record revenue and undertaking record manufacturing, today LIC shares are trading at record levels.
11. PSUs: In 2014, the country had 234 PSUs, today there are 254 PSUs, Modi said demolishing Congress' claim that Modi government is closing PSUs.
He highlighted that these PSUs are giving record returns and winning trust of investors. PSUs' net profit was 1.25 lakh crore in 2014 and is 2.5 lakh crore today, doubling in 10 years, Modi said.
12. Startup to Yuvraj: Without naming Rahul Gandhi, Modi said, "They have given a startup to their yuvraj (prince). It's a non starter, neither lifting, nor launching."
13. Focus on states: "UPA tried suppressing Gujarat's aspirations for 10 years when I was CM," Modi said alleging that even Union Minister didn't gave him an appointment.
"I believe that states are for country's development. When states will develop, only then we will be able to develop the country. If a state moves one step forward, we help it moving two steps," Modi said highlighting cooperative federalism.
"We did one G20 meeting in Delhi and 200 in states, so that our states get exposure. Today if foreign guests come, I insist them to visit at least one state so that they know our country is not confined to Delhi," the PM said.
14. Attacks divisionary tactics: Hitting out at recent statements like South's tax is used in North, Modi said that this will set a very wrong precedent because a country is one which shares it resources with other parts.
15. On poverty: "25 crore people have been alleviated from poverty but we will continue giving food grains for free to 80 crore people because they need our support, if anyone has an issue with it, let it be," Modi said.
He highlighted PM Awas Yojana, Nal se Jal Yojana, toilet construction, Kisan Samman Nidhi and other welfare schemes w
16. Third term: "Our third term is not far. Some people call it Modi 3.0. Modi 3.0 will strengthen the foundation of Viksit Bharat's foundation," Modi said.
Next five years will witness increased and cheaper health facilities, drinking water from tap for all, free electricity through solar power, pipeline gas connection across the country, startups will be in lakhs, record patent filing, Modi said.
"I want best of the world's universities in our country. India will emerge successful in international sports tournaments. Bullet train and Vande bharat expansion is expected. Made-in-India semiconductor will be there," the PM said.
He highlighted initiatives for electric vehicles, green hydrogen and ethanol mixed fuel for sustainable energy.
17. For agriculture: Modi asserted on natural farming and self-reliance in oilseed production to reduce imports of edible oil. He highlighted that millets will be known as superfood.
"15,000 Drone Didi initiative has already been launched and in future, more drones will be used for agriculture," the PM said. He said that farmers will not need to worry about grain storage.
18. Technology: "India's digital economy will set a precedent for the world. The country will witness more digitalisation. Space innovations will reach new heights. India will lead the world in Artificial Intelligence," Modi said.
Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.
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