New Delhi: Wit, barbs, sarcasm and poetry marked Prime Minister Narendra Modi's reply on the motion of thanks to President's address in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, which he concluded with renowned poet and lyricist Nida Fazli's poem "Safar Me Dhoop to Hogi".
The Prime Minister also invoked the image of "death" to take potshots at Congress during his reply and said the main Opposition party, like death, never gets any blame for whatever happens.
"Death has a blessing. It never gets blamed for anything. If somebody dies, the blame goes to reasons like cancer, age.. Death itself is never blamed or defamed. Sometimes I feel that Congress also has this blessing... Congress never gets the blame," he said.
Barring the imagery of death, his other references were mild and light ones even though sarcasm was not missing.
Modi, who had arrived in the House minutes before it commenced in the afternoon, walked up to Opposition benches and mingled with them exchanging pleasantries.
He shook hands with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress veteran Karan Singh sitting together and had a brief chat with Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad. As he was moving in first rows of Opposition benches, members from other Opposition parties sitting in back rows drew his attention towards them.
Samwajwadi Party MP Choudhary Munawwar Saleem recited an Urdu couplet to the Prime Minister, which could not be heard in the din.
After shaking hands with JD-U President Sharad Yadav, the Prime Minister walked up its general secretary K C Tyagi.
The poetic ambience continued during the reply even as members from treasury and ruling benches occasionally engaged in verbal sparring.
When Congress Mani Shankar Aiyar reacted strongly to Modi's suggestion that Congress was to be blamed for continuing illiteracy in the country, the Prime Minister trained guns on him invoking an old All India Radio programme 'Bhule Bisre Geet' (Old forgotten songs).
"Long back there was a programme on Akashwani," the Prime Minister said, but was immediately interrupted by Congress members who mockingly reminded of 'Mann Ki Baat', the monthly radio programme addressed by Modi.
However, the Prime Minister continued: "Bhule Bisre Geet aate the (this programme used to be played on the radio). Now when some persons' terms (in Rajya Sabha) are coming to an end, it is quite natural that these 'bhule bisre sur' (forgotten notes) are heard."
Modi also cited a Sanskrit proverb "Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah" (the path taken by the elders is followed) to hammer home the point that Rajya Sabha, which is the House of elders, sets the pattern for other Houses.
The Prime Minister also used the imagery of microscope and binocular to target Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad for trying to find fault with the implementation of the Jan Dhan Yojana in Madhya Pradesh and addressed the Congress leader as "Saheb" as he told him that had Congress performed in past, he would not have got a chance to work.
The Prime Minister ended the reply with Nida Fazli's poem "Safar Me Dhoop to Hogi". He recited a couple of lines:
Safar mein dhoop to hogi jo chal sako to chalo,
Sabhi hain bheed mein, tum bhi nikal sako to chalo,
Kisi ke vaaste raahein kahaan badalti hain,
Tum apne aap ko khud hi badal sako to chalo,
Yahaan kisi ko koi raasta nahin deta, Mujhe giraake, agar tum sambhal sako to chalo