New Delhi: The Congress leader in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, on Monday said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) returned to power as Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a "very big salesman" and the Congress failed to gain grounds in the 2019 general election as it could not market its products.
He said the BJP government had developed the "political plagiarism" syndrome and is only a "travesty of truth" and that it only tried to highlight its achievements ignoring the foundation laid down by his party. Chowdhury was speaking on the Motion of Thanks to the President's Address.
Invoking former Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, Chowdhury in his one-and-a-half-hour-long speech listed out the achievements under Congress governments and accused the BJP of just renaming 19 of the 23 schemes of the Congress.
"This government has developed a new syndrome called political plagiarism... Congress party has been contributing to growth (since Independence), but one morning you suddenly say the Congress has done nothing and you are doing all development work. It is nothing but travesty of truth... You are a government which can be called compliment-addicted government driven by manipulation," said Chowdhury who was the first speaker from the Opposition to initiate discussion on the Motion of Thanks.
Congress leader Sonia Gandhi continued to prompt Chowdhury while he was attacking BJP in his speech. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah were present in the House.
Stating it was the Congress which had initiated revolutions like the Green Revolution, White Revolution and Technology Revolution in the country, and increased GDP growth, Chowdhury said it was under the Congress that host of public sector enterprises like Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), State Bank of India (SBI) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) were set up.
"Congress is the soul of the nation. Congress is synonymous with India... For us, country is ahead of the party... Although we have 52 members in the House, we will continue to fight for the common man," he said.
He said the BJP did not mention Nehru's name in the President's address even once and it did not reveal 'Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas' attitude of the government. "Your stature would not have gone down if you had taken Nehru's name in the President's address," he said.
Crediting the Congress of a slew of government schemes and initiatives like National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), Right to Information (RTI), Right to Education (RTE) and Food Security Act, Chowdhury said, "You talk about hitting back at Pakistan with missiles. These missiles were built during the Congress tenure."
Taking a swipe at Union minister Pratap Sarangi, who had initiated the discussion, he said Sarangi crossed the limits in his praise for Modi. This invited sharp reactions from the treasury benches as they referred to "India is Indira, Indira is India" remarks made by Congress leaders when the latter was the Prime Minister.
"Our Prime Minister is a very big salesman. We (Congress) have been unable to sell our product, that is why we lost (Lok Sabha elections)," Chowdhury said in a speech which was marked by the Chair ordering expunging of some of his comments, considered unparliamentary.
Targeting the Modi government, Chowdhury said the country is reeling under drought, but the government is not worried. "We want to lambast government for its failure on various issues," he said.
He said BJP MPs did not take steps to alleviate miseries of the people as they though Modi will do everything. "They think that praising Modi is sufficient, he will help them sail through (Modi baba paar lagayenge),"he said.
Hitting back at the BJP for alleging a scam in the sale of 2G spectrum, he said if there was a wrongdoing why were UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi not in jail. "Why are they still in Parliament", he said.