Modi govt's reforms anti-people: Cong lashes out at PM's I-Day speech

He said the world has not forgotten the bodies piled up outside hospitals and flowing down the Ganga during the devastating second wave of the pandemic

In his I-Day speech, PM Modi said respect for women is an important pillar for India's growth.
In his I-Day speech, PM Modi said respect for women is an important pillar for India's growth.


The Congress on Tuesday termed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Independence Day speech as a "crass election speech filled with distortions, lies, exaggerations and vague promises".

The opposition party said instead of bringing the country together on Independence Day, he made it all about himself and his image and not accepting the challenges ahead and celebrating the country's journey so far.

On Prime Minister Modi's assertion that he will unfurl the national flag again at Red Fort next year and give a report of his achievements, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said Modi will unfurl the national flag next year but at his residence.

Modi's remark stems out of the "arrogance that he displays", Kharge said.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said, "On 15 August 2023, rather than reporting to the people what his government had achieved in the past nine years, Prime Minister Modi gave a crass election speech filled with distortions, lies, exaggerations and vague promises. Instead of bringing the country together, to celebrate our journey so far, acknowledge the pain and anguish of those suffering, and accept the challenges ahead, he made it all about himself and his image".

"To summarise, PM Modi’s failures in the last nine years can be categorised under 'durniti' (bad policies), 'anyay' (injustice) and - perhaps most importantly - 'badniyat' (ill intention). Rhetoric and bluster can no longer cover up this truth which is now evident to the entire country," Ramesh said in a statement He said the prime minister addressed the devastation caused by the violence in Manipur, casually comparing it with incidents in other parts of the country.

He showed no sorrow or acknowledgment of the abject failures which have led to Manipur turning into a war zone. He brazenly claimed that 'Bharat Mata' is being rejuvenated in 'Amrit Kaal' - when the whole nation has witnessed her fate in Manipur where women are being brutally violated, he claimed.

The prime minister claimed that a new world order has been ushered in as the world saw India’s capability during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Congress leader said, adding that he deliberately failed to mention that as a direct result of inadequate oxygen supplies and the PM’s "failure" to order adequate vaccines in a timely manner, India ended up with 40 lakh Covid deaths – the world’s "highest" death toll – according to the WHO.

He said the world has not forgotten the bodies piled up outside hospitals and flowing down the Ganga during the devastating second wave of the pandemic.

Ramesh said the prime minister played a cruel joke on Anganwadi and ASHA workers by thanking them for delivering 200 crore vaccines, especially when the families of many of these essential workers were denied compensation after they had died fighting the pandemic, and those living were not even paid their wages.

The Congress leader also lashed out at the prime minister over the border issue with China.

"It takes particular audacity to claim that our borders are safer than before when Chinese troops continue to block Indian access to 2,000 square km of Indian territory in Depsang and Demchok more than three years after they intruded. And to casually lie to the nation, as he did on 19 June 2020, and claim 'Na koi hamari seema mein ghus aaya hai, na hi koi ghusa hua hai' (no one has entered our border) as our own troops who have been captured are being mistreated by the Chinese," he charged.

"And the double-engine misfire in Manipur is only further playing into China’s hands. There is no bigger insult to our armed forces than lying about national security from the Red Fort," the Congress leader said.

The prime minister stated that the trinity of demography, democracy and diversity will help India become a developed country. But he has "failed" on all three fronts in the last nine years. The PM’s promise to youth that "Desh mein avsaron ki kami nahin hai'' (no dearth of opportunities in country) is a bitter lie.

The Modi government has wasted away India’s demographic dividend. One out of four educated youth is jobless and many of the rest are facing disguised unemployment, doing menial or unproductive jobs, or endlessly preparing for competitive exams. India’s democratic institutions are being continuously eroded, the most recent example being the Bill to bring the Election Commission under the control of the Executive by going against the Supreme Court’s recommendations on selecting its members.

Diversity is being made meaningless with attacks on regional cultures and languages, and the legitimisation of mob violence against the most vulnerable, especially Dalits, Adivasis and minorities.

The social fabric of the country has been torn apart through the "control" of media and the "misuse" of social media by the Modi government, the BJP and the hydra-headed Sangh Parivar.

The prime minister's talk of women-led development rings hollow, he said lashing out at Modi over the issue of the women wrestlers' sexual harassment allegations against former WFI chief Brij Bhushan Singh and also gangrape of women in Manipur.

Ramesh said the prime minister spoke about how the majority given to him by India’s voters allowed him to “Reform, Perform and Transform”.

"The reality is that all the reform, performance and transformation of the Modi government has ended up as a betrayal of those voters, as they are now realising. The Modi government’s “reforms” have all been anti-people, be it demonetisation, flawed GST or the anti-farmer laws.

"The only 'performance' has been the 40% commission raj of BJP state governments, the function of BJP as a washing machine to “clean” those opposition leaders who are arm-twisted by ED/CBI/IT to comply with or ally with the BJP, and bringing down elected state governments. And the only “transformation” has been in the concentration of economic power in select Modi-made Monopolies (3M) that is exacerbating price rise and ensuring record inequality. Especially, the PM’s direct role in directing deals and government revenues towards his most favoured business group," he said.

Ramesh said the prime minister tried to deflect the blame for inflation on the rest of the world, when the reality is that crude oil prices are substantially low when compared to the UPA years.

"Yet, the Modi government continues to fleece consumers by charging among the world’s highest prices for diesel and petrol in India, which in turn is contributing to punishing retail and food inflation. Neither did he talk about why the benefits of the cheap Russian oil are being passed on to large corporations rather than to the people. There was a time when the PM spoke of TOP – Tomato, Onion, Potato and LPG cylinders in his speeches. Today, with skyrocketing prices of essential commodities, his attempt to deflect blame for his failures was pathetic," Ramesh said.

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Published: 15 Aug 2023, 2:14 PM