Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the audience at a function in December 2018, had emphasised on his vision for a ‘New India’. He had made a strong pitch on rebuilding the country, underlining government’s mantra for development — 'vikas ki panchdhara (five tenets of development)'.
Modi had also claimed in his address that his government mustered the 'courage to take strong decisions' and it would continue working on this mission in the next term as well, if the NDA came to power. On Wednesday, in his thanks giving speech in the Rajya Sabha, the prime minister reiterated his pitch, stating that people rejected old India and voted for the new India concept.
Modi obliquely reminded the Upper House of the Parliament about the 'Old India' remark of senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and why the people of India rejected it as well.
The prime minister asked whether people wanted to get back to that old India where one needed a tout to get a reservation on a train; one had to wait for days to get a refilled LPG cylinder; it took months to get a passport; when inspector-raj was at the helm of affairs, etc.
On 24 June, Azad had criticised the BJP over its 'New India’ claim while referring to an incident of mob lynching in Jharkhand in which a 24-year-old youth was killed.
He had said, “Never heard of ‘New America, ‘New China’ or ‘New Britain’. There can be a modern India, but no New India. Please give us back the Old India.”
“In Old India there was no enmity, no anger, no violence, no hate, no lynching... Give us that India where all religions are equal,” he had said.
Azad’s statement had received wide applause from the Opposition members that day.
But probably, Azad had missed a point or had been misinformed while demanding an ‘Old India’. It would be a damn lie if anyone claimed that there had been no violence (including communal violence) and no riots during the Congress rule.
During the Congress-rule a large number of riots especially the communal ones — between the Hindus and the Muslims occurred. There was the Nellie massacre in 1983 in which 2,191 people were killed (official figure). Then there was 1984 anti-Sikh riots (2,800 killed); 1985 Gujarat Hindu-Muslim riots (275); 1987 Meerut riot (346); 1989 Bhagalpur riot in which more than a thousand Hindus and Muslims were killed; 1992-93 Mumbai riots; 2012 Assam riots in Kokrajhar; 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots — the list is endless. During all these incidents the Congress was in power either at the Centre or state or both.
No one is stating that communal violence didn’t take place during the BJP-led NDA rule — 2002 Godhra riots took place when Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat and NDA was in power at the Centre — but to claim that everything was hunky dory in Congress regime would be a blatant lie.
And, what about the Kashmir problem? Least to say about the endless killing of security force personnel and civilians that began during the Congress tenure.
Today, the waiting period of getting a filled LPG cylinder has drastically come down. It used to be a nightmare even in urban centres to get an LPG cylinder in 1980s, 1990s and even till 2005.
The term ‘mob lynching’ might not have gained currency in those decades, but theatre enthusiasts across the country are well aware about the killing of noted theatre-activist and a strong proponent of street-theatre (nukkad natak), Safdar Hashmi, in broad daylight on 1 January, 1989 . He was attacked by Congress workers while he was performing ‘Halla Bol (Raise Your Voice)' with his troupe in Sahibabad near Delhi.
The terrorist attacks in Mumbai, Delhi, Varanasi, Malegaon, Hyderabad, Pune, etc, that took place one after another during the UPA-I and UPA-II era are horrors India doesn’t want to revisit. So, if ‘Old India’ represents such incidents, as Modi said, people rejected it. The people of India want a better life.
Seemingly slamming the Congress party and its leadership, Modi had said in December last: “Big leaders were in power. People with big surnames, but the common man struggled for decades to resolve small issues. The problem wasn't a lack of goals, but the intent from political leadership was lacking. There was no dearth of resources, solutions and potential, but a lack of passion, sensitivity and work-culture. Despite having large swathes of agricultural land, hardworking youth and rich natural resources, people failed to have access to basic amenities.”
He reiterated the same on Wednesday, saying, “There’s so much negativity… every government scheme whether related to swachhata (cleanliness), toilet, Jan Dhan account or Make in India, the opposition mocked it."
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Updated Date: Jun 27, 2019 10:22:52 IST