Congress terms Prime Minister’s Independence Day speech ‘crass’, filled with lies; AAP says it’s his ‘farewell’ address from Red Fort


NEW DELHI: Opposition parties Tuesday dismissed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech as a ”crass election speech filled with distortions, lies, exaggerations and vague promises” and his ”farewell” address from the ramparts of the Red Fort.

The Congress said instead of bringing the country together on Independence Day, Modi made it all about himself and his image and not accepting the challenges ahead and celebrating the country’s journey so far.

On Modi’s assertion that he will unfurl the national flag again at Red Fort next year and give a report of his achievements, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said Modi will unfurl the national flag next year but at his residence.

Modi’s remark stems out of the ”arrogance that he displays”, he added.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said, ”On 15 August 2023, rather than reporting to the people what his government had achieved in the past nine years, Prime Minister Modi gave a crass election speech filled with distortions, lies, exaggerations and vague promises. Instead of bringing the country together, to celebrate our journey so far, acknowledge the pain and anguish of those suffering, and accept the challenges ahead, he made it all about himself and his image.”

The AAP claimed Modi gave his ”farewell speech” from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the 77th Independence Day. ”I believe it was Prime Minister Modi’s farewell speech. Although, he tried to list out all the work done in the last 10 years, there was nothing worth mentioning,” AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj alleged.

Senior AAP leader and Delhi minister Atishi alleged, ”One does not need to listen to the prime minister’s speech to understand his 10 year report card, his work is enough to reflect that he has failed.” TMC’s Rajya Sabha member Derek O’Brien challenged the government to introduce a ”one member per family bill” if the government was against dynasty politics.

”PM Narendra Modi and his government faff about dynasty. Here’s a free idea for them: will they introduce a ‘One Member Per Family Bill’ in Parliament. Call their bluff!” he said on X.

The CPI-M accused Modi of boasting.

In a post on X, CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury compared India’s economy, human development index and infant mortality rate with other countries to hit out at the government. ”As Modi boasts at Red Fort; a reality check with comparable countries. GDP per capita, India ranks 24 out of 26 countries. Human Development Index: 26 of 29 countries. Infant mortality: 7th worst of 32 countries,” he said.

CPI MP Binoy Viswam called Modi’s speech a political one and ”rhetoric”.

”@narendramodi forgot that he is the #primeminister of a great democracy. His was an election speech filled with anxiety over next election.His colossal failures can’t be hidden by techniques of rhetoric. People won’t believe in a party that played no role in freedom struggle,” he said on X.

Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav said Modi while talking about ”pariwarvaad’ should first have a look at Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who he termed as an example of ”pariwarvaad’ in the state. Yadav was apparently referring to Adityanath also being the head of the Gorakshpeeth of Gorakhpur.

Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav said Modi’s remark that he will unfurl the tricolour next year ”smacks of arrogance”.

”The prime minister seems to have forgotten that nothing is permanent. The world has seen so many rulers and all lost power one way or the other. The PM wishfully thinks that he is immune to this trend,” he said.

The RJD leader also said, ”I wonder how does the PM muster courage to speak of corruption and pariwarvaad. Who is Ajit Pawar (NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s nephew)? He was also accused by PM of corruption barely a week before being made the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra where BJP is the largest constituent of the ruling coalition.” Congress leader Ramesh issued a statement, saying, ”To summarise, PM Modi’s failures in the last nine years can be categorised under ‘durniti’ (bad policies), ‘anyay’ (injustice) and – perhaps most importantly – ‘badniyat’ (ill intention). Rhetoric and bluster can no longer cover up this truth which is now evident to the entire country.”

He said Modi addressed the devastation caused by the violence in Manipur casually, comparing it with incidents in other parts of the country. ”He showed no sorrow or acknowledgment of the abject failures which have led to Manipur turning into a war zone. He brazenly claimed that ‘Bharat Mata’ is being rejuvenated in ‘Amrit Kaal’ – when the whole nation has witnessed her fate in Manipur where women are being brutally violated,” Ramesh claimed.

He said while Modi asserted that a new world order has been ushered in as the world saw India’s capability during the COVID-19 pandemic, he ”deliberately failed to mention that as a direct result of inadequate oxygen supplies and the PM’s ‘failure’ to order adequate vaccines in a timely manner, India ended up with 40 lakh Covid deaths – the world’s ‘highest’ death toll – according to the WHO”. He added the ”world has not forgotten the bodies piled up outside hospitals and flowing down the Ganga during the devastating second wave of the pandemic”. The Congress leader also lashed out at the prime minister over the border issue with China.

”It takes particular audacity to claim that our borders are safer than before when Chinese troops continue to block Indian access to 2,000 square km of Indian territory in Depsang and Demchok more than three years after they intruded. And to casually lie to the nation, as he did on 19 June 2020, and claim ‘Na koi hamari seema mein ghus aaya hai, na hi koi ghusa hua hai’ (no one has entered our border) as our own troops who have been captured are being mistreated by the Chinese,” he charged.

”And the double-engine misfire in Manipur is only further playing into China’s hands. There is no bigger insult to our armed forces than lying about national security from the Red Fort,” he said.

India’s democratic institutions are being continuously eroded, the most recent example being the Bill to bring the Election Commission under the control of the Executive by going against the Supreme Court’s recommendations on selecting its members, he alleged. The social fabric of the country has been torn apart through the ”control” of media and the ”misuse” of social media by the Modi government, the BJP and the hydra-headed Sangh Parivar, Ramesh further alleged.

”The prime minister’s talk of women-led development rings hollow,” he said lashing out at Modi over the issue of the women wrestlers’ sexual harassment allegations against former WFI chief Brij Bhushan Singh and also gangrape of women in Manipur.

Ramesh said the prime minister tried to deflect the blame for inflation on the rest of the world, when the reality is that crude oil prices are substantially low when compared to the UPA years. ”Yet, the Modi government continues to fleece consumers by charging among the world’s highest prices for diesel and petrol in India, which in turn is contributing to punishing retail and food inflation. Neither did he talk about why the benefits of the cheap Russian oil are being passed on to large corporations rather than to the people. There was a time when the PM spoke of TOP Tomato, Onion, Potato and LPG cylinders in his speeches. Today, with skyrocketing prices of essential commodities, his attempt to deflect blame for his failures was pathetic,” he said.

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