Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday assured the people of Manipur that India and Parliament were with them and the State and Central governments were putting all efforts to bring peace and development back to the State, as his government won the motion of no-confidence amid a walkout by the Opposition.
The Opposition said it staged a walkout due to the fact that despite 90 minutes into his two-hour speech, Mr. Modi had not addressed the issue of Manipur.
Parliament Monsoon Session updates | August 10, 2023
Speaking about the State, after the Opposition walkout, the Prime Minister said: “The violence in Manipur is saddening. Crimes against women are unacceptable and the Central and State governments are working together to ensure the guilty are punished. We want to assure our mothers and daughters in Manipur that this country is with you, this House is with you.” He assured the people of India that peace and development would soon be restored in the State. “Dard ko samajh kar, dard ki dawaa ban kar saath chalein, [let us understand the pain and become the medicine to heal together],” he said.
While speaking of providing a healing touch to the people of Manipur, however, Mr. Modi said many of the problems that had flared up in the State were not of recent origin but were a hangover from the previous Congress governments that had administered the State.
‘Changing world order’
“The Opposition that has moved this motion is very selective in its pain and empathy. All of it starts with politics and ends with it,” he said. The Prime Minister added that unlike for the Opposition, for him, the northeast was his “Jigar ka tukda” (a piece of his heart), and mentioned that he had visited the area 50 times as Prime Minister and his Council of Ministers clocked over 400 times and also enumerated the infrastructure and other development works done there by his government. “Northeast can seem far to you, but I can visualise that a changing world order will see the rise of the ASEAN region and bring the northeast in focus,” he said.
“Today’s problems of Manipur are being presented as though it is of the recent past,” Mr. Modi said. He spoke of the record of previous Congress governments in Manipur, speaking of a time when Manipur was “consumed in the conflagration of insurgency, when the administration was under the sway of insurgents and the national anthem was banned from being sung in schools, when insurgents bombed the ISKCON temple, when the bells of temples stopped ringing by 4 p.m. and security forces had to guard these locked temples.”
“In all this time who was it that was running the government but the Congress,” the Prime Minister added. He also said that the present BJP-led government in the State had till now made bombs and blockades a thing of the past and they were trying to find solutions with “sincere intent.”
Continuing his blistering attack on the Congress, Mr. Modi recalled that it was under the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who had used the Indian Air Force to bomb Mizoram and its own citizens in 1966, and deploy a military attack on the Akal Takht in 1984.
He said the Opposition had a fondness for using unseemly words and phrases for attacking him “and in this their favourite slogan is to say Modi we will dig your grave.” Prime Minister Modi’s speech saw the Opposition shout slogans of “INDIA” the name of the new Opposition alliance to counter the “Modi, Modi” slogans of the treasury benches.
Mr Modi termed the alliance “ghamandia [arrogant]”, a play on INDIA bloc which refused to discuss Manipur separately for their own political ends despite the offer by Home Minister Amit Shah to do so. He said that those who spoke of “Bharat Mata” during the no-confidence motion (a reference to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi) represented a party who did the “most to break India, even as it was gaining independence.”
With a nod to the regional parties that are part of the INDIA bloc, the Prime Minister said that even recently, DMK leaders from Tamil Nadu spoke of getting back Katchatheevu. He also spoke of a 1962 radio broadcast of the late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru during the Sino-Indian war where he said that his “heart went out to the people of Assam” a sentence, added Mr. Modi, which still hurt the people “who were left to their fate in war.”
The Prime Minister targeted the socialist parties like Janata Dal (U), current allies of the Congress, for tying up with the party when their ideological mentor, Ram Manohar Lohia had clearly stated that it was Nehru who was “deliberately keeping back the northeast” describing it as a “careless and dangerous thing to keep 30,000 square miles of territory in a cold storage.”
Terming the alliance that brought the no-confidence motion against his government “arrogant, dynastic and corrupt,” Mr. Modi added however, that no-confidence motions in the past had brought him luck as the last one in 2018 had seen the NDA return with a bigger majority. “I ask the Opposition to try again in 2028,” the Prime Minister said to laughter from the treasury benches.
He repeatedly declared his assurance to the people that in his third term he would ensure that India would be number three among the world’s economies.