During his first speech in Parliament after his historic re-election, PM Narendra Modi exhorted the lawmakers to rise above partisan politics to fulfil the dream of a ‘strong, safe, developed and inclusive nation’. Even as he reminded them that the country is more important than politics, Modi himself took potshots at the Congress and the Nehru-Gandhi family. Ironically, his sharp criticism came just a week after he had urged the Opposition to disregard its numbers and participate actively and constructively in parliamentary proceedings. The PM’s fiery speech at times gave the impression that he was still in the election mode, even though the Lok Sabha polls were done and dusted last month and the Grand Old Party was soundly decimated.
As his address coincided with the 44th anniversary of the imposition of the Emergency, the PM predictably — and rightly — tore into the Congress for ‘crushing India’s soul’. Rubbing it in, Modi said his government had awarded the Bharat Ratna to Congress stalwart and former President Pranab Mukherjee, while the opposition party had never bothered to recognise the contribution of former Prime Ministers like PV Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh. However, his assertion that the rival party missed many chances to empower Muslim women was nothing short of an own goal, considering the BJP’s poor track record on the minority front – exemplified by the Bilkis Bano case and the spate of communal lynchings in recent years.
The BJP received a massive mandate because the electorate outrightly rejected the Opposition and embraced Modi as the country’s undisputed leader. The PM is merely stating the obvious by pointing out the Congress and Co’s many weaknesses and blunders. Instead, he needs to focus on what his government has in store for the people over the next five years. There is no room for complacency or laxity when it comes to governance and overall development. With a stable dispensation in place, Modi — and the NDA — can’t afford to fall short of the masses’ sky-high expectations. What’s more, the PM should walk the talk on taking the ‘other’ along.