PM Narendra Modi Takedown Of Rahul Gandhi, Congress' Unseemly 'Even A Dog' Remark

PM Narendra Modi took a dig at Congress, Rahul Gandhi in Lok Sabha (PTI photo)

Highlights

  • PM Modi spoke in parliament on notes ban, other topics
  • "Finally, the quake occurred": PM's jibe at Rahul Gandhi
  • No sacrifice for country from "even a dog in your house": Congress to PM
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi told parliament Tuesday that "the earthquake finally took place - the Earth (Dharti Ma) was likely angered." The PM's comment, hours after an earthquake measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale hit Uttarakhand with sizeable tremors in Delhi and other areas in the North, was also a sly swipe at his political opponent, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi. Months ago, Mr Gandhi, leading the opposition's attack of the PM's sudden demonetisation drive, warned that when he spoke in parliament about the notes ban, "an earthquake will happen."

PM Modi spoke in parliament yesterday after President Pranab Mukherjee presented the government's agenda at the start of the budget session. His speech stressed the power of India's democracy or Jan Shakti; he said it accounts for how "a tea-seller's son can rise to become Prime Minister."

The PM's expansive attack on Mr Gandhi's party included a sharp retort to Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who said that while Indira Gandhi had sacrificed her life for the nation, the PM cannot claim the patriotism of "even a dog from his family." The PM said today, "We are not brought up in this sort of obsequious tradition" (Hum kutton wali parampara se pale bade nahin hain).


Mr Gandhi said PM Modi "mocks the tragedy of Uttarakhand and insults the freedom struggle, but has no answers to opposition questions."

The elections in five states that are taking place now are the first major test of  the BJP after PM Modi's controversial move to ban all high-value notes in November, a reform aimed at unearthing tax evasion and punishing corruption.  

Punjab and Goa voted last week in record numbers and on Saturday, the crucial state of Uttar Pradesh will start choosing its government.

Even political opponents of the PM cede for the most part that his personal popularity has remained high well into his first term, but the elections are being seen as a test of its endurance.

In Uttar Pradesh, the PM is leading his party's campaign against Dalit icon Mayawati and the political alliance of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav with Mr Gandhi's Congress party.

The BJP amassed 72 of the state's 80 parliamentary seats in the general election, and its result will be used to gauge whether the PM is likely to win a second term.

The state is also important because it sends the highest number of MPs to the Rajya Sabha, where the government currently lacks a majority, making it dependent on the support of the opposition led by the Congress, for the passing of crucial legislations.

Uttarakhand and Manipur in the northeast will also elect new governments, with results for all five states due on March 11.