New Delhi: Congress on Friday described Prime Minister Narendra Modi as being in grip of "Rahul phobia" and said he has made a "mockery of democracy" by making "petty-minded jibes" in his political speech on President's address in Parliament, never done in the past.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that the Prime Minister's speech was "devoid of substance" as he lost the opportunity of clearing doubts of people that were raised through questions posed by Congress and Rahul Gandhi, which he never answered.
"Prime Minister Shri Modi seems to be in the grip of what I can describe as 'Rahul phobia'. It is an acute disease. It has now attained the size of an epidemic as far as the BJP and the Prime Minister are concerned.
"In what has now become a characteristic habit of the Prime Minister, he again made a mockery of democracy and Parliament. In a response to President's address, this kind of political petty-fogging, petty-minded jives (rpt) jives is neither the culture nor the occasion, nor the manner and style sanctified and hallowed in the almost 70 years of Indian Democracy," he said.
Singhvi said merely because the Congress Vice President raises genuine concerns, as many as three senior Ministers jumped in to deflect questions asked to Modi.
"All that the Prime Minister did, in a speech 'devoid of substance', was that petty pointless attacking on Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, the Congress party and the legacy of the Congress...We reject the reply of the Prime Minister as being misleading and giving no real answers," he said.
Singhvi said there have been many Prime Ministers, many political parties in power, there have been many acrimonious elections and there have been less acrimonious elections, but President's addresses or responses to them are not the occasion to give this kind of a petty political speeches.
"We are forced to say that the Prime Minister has yet again lost the opportunity to give substantive answers, to clear and assuage the genuine doubts of the people.
"The questions raised by Congress and by Rahul Gandhi are pointed questions of legitimate public concern and legitimate public interest and they stretch in the length and breadth of India," he said.
Singhvi also pointed out that the Prime Minister in his "political diatribe" did not mention a word about Rohith Vemula, Kanhaiya Kumar, about the behaviour of Delhi Police, about the 'lumpen' elements across the country linked to ABVP, and atrocities on Dalits and students.
"The PM should explain why he didn't apologise for the false speech of his HRD Minister in Parliament," he asked.
Singhvi said Prime Minister "selectively and mischievously" quoted speeches of Jawahar Lal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi and hoped if he could learn the message of compassion and inclusiveness entailed in them.
"Though he has shown no inclination till now and seems practically incapable, we hope that he learns from those speeches that entail an inclusive, compassionate tolerant and people centric India," he said.
The Congress leader said Modi talked about construction of toilets in schools, but never mentioned the 13,41,567 toilets in schools, 4,71,614 community toilets and 27,789 toilets built in community complexes during UPA.
He said the Prime Minister did not even utter a single word about his Government's "anti-dalit, anti-poor" mindset.
"The Prime Minister kept absolutely mum on the 'Fair & Lovely' amnesty scheme for Black Money hoarders and the tall promise of bringing back Black Money he made in 2014.
"He chose not to say a word on why he didn't apologise for publicly endorsing Smriti Irani's apparently false and misleading speech in Parliament with a "Satyameva Jayate". All his rhetoric in Lok Sabha was about 'Mithya Jayate'," he said.
Singhvi said there was not a word on how many jobs had the government created against the promised 2-Crore jobs per year, nor did he say as to why was "Make In India" not taking off.
He also accused him of choosing to keep Parliament in "dark" on why did he visited Pakistan, despite it playing truant and gave no clarifications whatsoever on the supposed Naga Accord.
"He had no answers to the crores of Indians who are asking as to why is he committing a dacoity on their life savings in EPF accounts.
"All that he attempted yet again was shameless blame shifting and credit taking by subterfuge," he said.
While spinning his "lies" on MNREGA and owning it up as a fait-accompli, the Congress leader said, Modi "failed" to inform the House that Congress Party had managed to reduce poverty from a whopping 65 per cent after Independence to about 22 percent in 2012.
"In the 10 years of UPA Government during 2004-2014, 15 crore Indians were pulled out from the BPL level. He forgot to mention that all this was achieved due to the anti-poverty rights based approach of our government," he said.
He said Modi tom-tommed the 18,000 villages his government had electrified, but forgot to mention about the 1,08,373 villages and intensive electrification in 3,07,567 including those in his home state that Congress electrified during UPA.
In claiming credits for "commissioning" 2,300 KM of rail line during current NDA rule, "the Prime Minister convolutely did not inform the Parliament that all these lines were started and almost completed during the UPA's tenure. He merely inaugurated and commissioned them."
He said Modi only "commissioned' and inaugurated them and conveniently added them to his achievements of enhancing the number of kilometres of Rail lines laid.
Singhvi also talked about the Gem, Jewellery and Gold traders who are on strike since the last three days over the proposed 1 per cent Excise duty on Gold and Diamond Jewellery.
"This proposal will have an adverse cascading effect on the market, traders and consumers. This step by the Government is viewed as introducing 'Inspector Raj' on the industry and allowing corruption," he said.