Prime Minister Narendra Modi's jibe at Congress, Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav's thoughts on the prime minister, and the tabling of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) report in Rajya Sabha marked the last day of the Budget Session in Parliament.
In his last Lok Sabha speech before the general election, Modi targeted Congress, while praising his government's efforts. Taking a dig at Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Modi said that there had been no earthquake in five years of governance, referring to Rahul saying in 2016 that if he was allowed to speak in Parliament there'd be an earthquake. "Hum sunte the ki bhookamp aayega, par koi bhukamp nahi aya," he said.
Referring to allegations of corruption in Rafale deal, he said, "Big personalities tried to fly aircraft. The power of democracy is such that no aircraft could bring down this government." Referring to Rahul's hug during the no-confidence debate in July 2018, Modi said, "For the first time, I learnt the difference between 'gale milna' (hugging) and 'gale padna' (clinging)."
Modi praised senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge for his contribution as an Opposition leader, and said that conversations with Kharge helped "stir my thought". Hailing women representation in Parliament, Modi said, "We will be proud of this 16th Lok Sabha, as it saw the highest number of women members elected to the House. The country’s self-confidence is at an all time high and it's is a very good sign because such confidence gives boost to development."
The prime minister called it a "good sign" that several sessions in the Lok Sabha recorded "good productivity". "This House passed laws to fight the menace of black money and corruption. This House also passed the GST Bill. We are committed to bring back those who looted India," he said.
Praising Speaker Sumitra Mahajan's leadership, Modi said eight of 17 sessions of this Lok Sabha had 100 percent productivity. The overall productivity was recorded at over 85 percent and the 16th Lok Sabha passed 203 bills out of 219 introduced, he said.
Modi said India suffered globally for long due to fractured mandates, but now it is taken seriously in the global arena because of the majority government. He also listing the various methods undertaken by the Centre to tackle global warming. "The world today is discussing the issue of global warming and India has made an effort for the formation of the International Solar Alliance to combat this problem," he said. He claimed that the highest number of satellites were launched under his government. "India has now become a launch pad," he said.
Before Modi's speech, Mulayam Singh Yadav, seated next to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, said he wished to see Modi back as prime minister. "I would like to thank the prime minister for his efforts to bring everybody together for development. I wish all Lok Sabha MPs win seats to the House again and I hope that Modi becomes the prime minister again," he said. His remarks left the Opposition squirming in Lok Sabha, but were greeted by cheers from the treasury benches with the Modi acknowledging Mulayam's wish with folded hands.
Ruling alliance members heartily cheered Mulayam's with chants of "Jai Shri Ram" as he praised Modi for "making efforts to take everyone along". Modi acknowledged the Samajwadi Party's praise with folded hands and later made a mention of Mulayam's "blessings" in his speech.
Parliament approves Interim Budget
The Parliament approved the Interim Budget that gave an Income Tax rebate to those earning up to Rs 5 lakh, an annual cash dole of Rs 6,000 to small farmers and pension for unorganised sector workers. While the Lok Sabha has passed the Appropriation Bills that gave government authorisation of spending certain sums till the next government presents the full Budget for 2019-20, and the Finance Bill after full debate, the Rajya Sabha passed them without discussion on Wednesday.
The 13-day Budget Session was a washout in the Rajya Sabha as Opposition parties stalled proceedings daily over issues ranging from Rafale fighter jet deal to Citizenship Bill.
On Wednesday, a consensus was arrived at among political parties to approve the Interim Budget as also the Motion thanking the president for his address to the joint sitting of Parliament at the beginning of the session without a debate. Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu referred to the consensus in the House after it met following a 40-minute adjournment caused by a ruckus created by Samajwadi Party and TMC over different issues.
CAG report tabled in Rajya Sabha
The CAG report on capital acquisitions in the Indian Air Force, which includes details of the Rafale fighter jet deal, was tabled in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
While the proceedings were on in the Upper House, Rahul, Sonia and other Opposition leaders gathered on Parliament's premises and protested against the Rafale deal. Raising slogans like ‘chowkidaar chor hai’, they held paper models of the fighter aircraft with images of Modi and industrialist Anil Ambani printed on them. The report comes at a time when the BJP and the Opposition are at loggerheads over the jet deal.
On Monday, Rahul alleged that Modi facilitated "loot" in Rafale deal citing a media report that Modi had got the anti-corruption clause removed from the contract. A day later, Rahul used another media report to allege that the prime minister acted as a “middleman” for Ambani in the fighter deal and accused him of violating the Official Secrets Act (OSA) and indulging in “treason” for which “action must be initiated".
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Feb 13, 2019 21:01:53 IST