Modi says Congress taken over by ‘urban Naxals’; Rahul says focus on your job


Following up on his blistering attack on the Congress in the Lok Sabha Monday, when he described it as a party of the ‘tukde-tukde gang’, a term used for those allegedly looking to break up India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi continued in the same vein in the Rajya Sabha Tuesday, saying the principal opposition party’s thinking had been hijacked by ‘urban Naxals’.

Replying to the debate in the Upper House on the motion of thanks for the President’s address, Modi said, “It is said that we are trying to change history. Congress thinking has been trapped by urban Naxals.”

He said the party’s thought process had become destructive. “We just want to improve the memory of some people,” he claimed. “We are not changing history. Some people’s history starts from a particular time, we are only going back. Some people’s history is limited to one family.”

Taking on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s statement in the Lok Sabha last week on the importance of federalism, when he said India is a Union of States, Modi said he could not understand why the Congress has an objection to the word ‘nation’ and suggested that it should change its name from Indian National Congress to Federation of Congress.

Modi said the GST Council was a perfect example of the federal structure wherein state finance ministers and the finance minister of India sit as equals to make decisions unanimously.

Reacting later to the prime minister’s jibes in the two Houses of Parliament, Gandhi told reporters that he did not need certificates from anyone for his great grandfather and India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, whom Modi had attacked in his speech in the Lok Sabha, and that everyone is aware of Nehru’s contribution to India.

As for himself and the Congress, Gandhi said the prime minister was welcome to attack them, but he should not neglect his job at the same time and again asked what the BJP government had done to fulfil its economic promises to the people.

The prime minister said his government had made improvements in the coal and mining sectors by giving more incentives while income from auctions had gone to state governments. “If states benefit, the country benefits,” he said. “Odisha has been the finest example of cooperative federalism wherein the state cooperated with us shoulder to shoulder in implementing reforms and the state chief minister (Naveen Patnaik) must be praised for this.”

Recalling his own days as Gujarat chief minister, Modi said everyone knows what happened with him at the time. “But as CM I always used to say that the state will be developed for the country’s sake,” he said. “People who ruled the country for decades, the way they exploited the states, they brought President’s rule over 100 times and uprooted elected governments.”

Taking another dig at the Congress, he said the party did not spare even its own leaders. They divided Andhra Pradesh in such a way that both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are fighting till now. “(Former prime minister) Atalji (Behari Vajpayee) also made three states, but it was done peacefully. We are not opposing Telangana, but it could have been done peacefully,” Modi added.