Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday emphasised that encephalitis deaths in Bihar was a matter of shame. He also called the instance of mob lynching in Jharkhand a sad and a painful one.
Replying to the debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address, the prime minister said, “The deaths in Bihar due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome are unfortunate and a matter of shame for us.” Calling for strengthening of the Ayushman Bharat, he said, “The need of the hour is to strengthen Ayushman Bharat. We want our poor to get top quality and affordable treatment. I am in constant touch with the state government and I am sure we will collectively come out of this crisis soon.”
Cautioning people not to paint the whole state with one brush he said, “The accused should get severe punishment, but it is not fair to malign or blame the entire state. The lynching in Jharkhand has pained me. It has saddened others too. But, some people in the Rajya Sabha are calling Jharkhand a hub of lynching. Is this fair? Why are they insulting a state? None of us have the right to insult the state of Jharkhand.”
On the controversial NRC, Modi hit out at the Congress and asked, “You take credit for everything, will you not take credit for NRC? Rajiv Gandhi had accepted NRC in the Assam accord. Then Supreme Court had to intervene. Also, the top court directed us so we have implemented it. So why are you not taking credit for this?”
Calling for suggestion to make India a $5 trillion economy he said, “I am sure there is no one in this house who will not like India to be part of the 5 trillion dollar economy club. Please gives us constructive suggestions, we are open to all suggestions, we don’t believe only we have all the intellect.”
Prime Minister Modi also launched a scathing attack on the Congress, saying it insulted voters of the country by questioning veracity of EVMs and the massive victory of the BJP in Lok Sabha polls.
Modi said there was a limit to the arrogance of the opposition party as it has put voters in the dock by questioning their verdict.
He said there is a problem with the Congress as it does not accept defeat and cannot digest victory. “After such a big mandate, you say you (BJP) have won, but the country has lost….If the Congress loses, does the country get defeated. Does the Congress mean the country and the country means the Congress. There is a limit of arrogance,” Modi said.
The prime minister said that by using such language the Congress has hurt voters of the country. “I was saddened when some leaders said – the BJP and allies won the elections but the nation lost, democracy lost. I want to clearly say that such statements are unfortunate. Why question the wisdom of voters,” he asked.
“Do our friends in the Congress Party feel if they do not win, India does not win? Are India and the Congress Party the same thing? No, they are not. Important to respect our electoral process and democracy,” Modi said.
Going by the Congress party’s arguments, he wondered whether victory of the Congress in Wayanad and Rae Bareli seats too were “defeat of the country.”
“Due to narrow-mindedness and perversity of thoughts, if some people do not accept mandate of the people by saying that ‘you may have won the election but the country has lost,’ there can be nothing more insulting for our democracy than this,” he said.
Noting that the Congress was not able to win even a single Lok Sabha seat in 17 states, he said it was time for the Congress to introspect and “accept defeat.” “My friends in the Congress: They have not been able to digest victory. They have not been able to accept defeat. I do not consider this to be a healthy sign in a democracy,” he said.
The prime minister also hit out the Congress for questioning EVMs, which have been lauded globally. The prime minister said the world must know more about “our electoral processes as the scale is immense. Some people kept talking about the EVM issue in this House,” he said. “I want to tell them- there was a time when we were 2 MPs in Parliament. People mocked us. But, we worked harder and won the trust of people. We did not make excuses and blame the polling booth. Let us appreciate how our electoral processes have improved,” he said.
“In the 1950s the polling process took so much time and violence and booth capturing were common in some places. Now, the news is about rising turnout. This is a healthy sign,” he noted.
The prime minister said there have been so many polls with EVMs and parties that are represented in the Rajya Sabha have got opportunities to govern in some state or the other after elections conducted through EVMs. “Then, why question EVMs today,” he asked.
The prime minister said, “We are seeing this same attitude when it comes to discussing ‘One Nation, One Election’.”
“Yes, people may not like the idea or have inputs on this. But, it is important to present these ideas and have discussions on the subject,” he said.
Modi wondered why opposition parties were opposing the idea of “New India”, asking them not to thrust the people of the country towards negativity by opposing it, as this was a sin. “Do we need that Old India where Cabinet proposals were torn in press conferences or where there are scams all over and support is extended to ‘tukde tukde’ gang. Do we need that old India where there was corruption,” he said, adding people of the country were not ready to take India behind.
He urged opposition members to take the country forward and expected them to contribute in doing so. Modi said those opposing EVMs are not only opposed to EVMs, they have problems with technology, digital transactions, Aadhaar, GST, Bhim App. “Why such negativity? This negativity was one of the chief reasons why some parties have not been able to win people’s trust,” he said.
The prime minister also said that he was saddened by the lynching incident in Jharkhand. “The lynching in Jharkhand has pained me. It has saddened others too. But, some people in the Rajya Sabha are calling Jharkhand a hub of lynching. Is this fair? Why are they insulting a state? None of us have the right to insult the state of Jharkhand,” he said.
Modi noted that whether it is Jharkhand, or West Bengal or Kerala, incidents of violence should be treated in the same manner and perpetrators of violence get a lesson that the entire country is one on this issue.
(With inputs from agencies)