Prime Minister Narendra Modi, speaking in Lok Sabha a day after Congress's Rahul Gandhi's attack on his government, lashed out at the 10 years of UPA rule, saying it had "bled the country dry". Replying to the Motion of Thanks to the President's address in parliament, he said, "2004 to 2014 was the decade of scams and violence and the UPA's trademark was to turn every opportunity into crisis". And while the Congress might feel the way to go is to "abuse Modi", the 140 crore people of the country were his "shield", he added.
The Prime Minister accused the opposition of being so "immersed in despair" that they can't see the progress the country is making. "And why wouldn't it be so? Because in the decade between 2004 and 2014..." he said, launching into one of his sharpest attacks on the Congress.
"Before 2014, between 2004-14, inflation was high. That decade was the most corrupt since Independence. In UPA's 10-year rule, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, the entire country was gripped by terrorism. From Jammu and Kashmir to the northeast, the entire region saw nothing but violence. In those 10 years, India was so weak on the global stage, no one was even ready to listen to India. Between 2004 and 2014, the UPA turned every opportunity into a crisis," PM Modi said, amid raucous cheers from the treasury benches.
Hinting that corruption over those 10 years had brought the Opposition under the scanner of Central investigative agencies, he taunted the opposition over its deep rifts. The Enforcement Directorate did what the voters could not -- "ED has brought all Opposition parties together on one platform," he said.
Over the last nine years, instead of constructive criticism, compulsive critics have taken over, "those who feel that abusing Modi will solve their problems," he added in an arch reference to Rahul Gandhi's attack yesterday.
"Yesterday again in the Parliament, there was a discussion on Harvard," PM Modi then added, leaving no room for doubt about the target. "The Congress said India's destruction will be a case study at Harvard. However, in the past few years, Harvard did an important study. The topic was: The Rise and Decline of India's Congress Party. In future, the destruction of Congress will not just be studied at Harvard but also at many other institutions around the globe," he added.
Rahul Gandhi had accused the Prime Minister of having links with billionaire Gautam Adani, whose companies are in the spotlight after a damaging report by US-based short-seller Hindenburg Research alleged stock manipulation and accounting fraud by the group.
He said the Harvard University should focus on the situation. "Harvard University should study the relationship between politics and business - India is a case study and the Prime Minister should be given a gold medal for this," Mr Gandhi had said in his first speech in Lok Sabha after his Bharat Jodo Yatra.
The BJP said it was clear that Mr Gandhi would make Gautam Adani the focus of Congress campaign for the next election, and it would fail just the way their attack on the Rafale deal failed in 2019.
"You are frustrated. But what can we do if the people won't vote for your party," said senior BJP leader and former Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.