NEW DELHI (TIP): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on March 7 donned an unusually aggressive mantle in the Lok Sabha as he tore into the Opposition BJP’s recent tirade against the Congress and dared it at the hustings, saying people will repeat UPA at the Centre if they saw its track record. The quintessential economist listed one development statistic after the other to prove that in numbers, UPA’s nineyear rule was way above NDA’s. But more than the figures, it was the PM’s combative stance against the BJP leadership that took Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj and party president Rajnath Singh seated in the House by surprise. By the end of it, both were agitated enough to seek the right to reply to the PM,whose speech was described by Rajnath Singh as “ballistic, never heard before, but one that was akin to the last flight of a flame before it died”. As for the PM, he denounced Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s (without naming him) recent attack on him and the Congress leadership, saying, “At the BJP National Council meeting, leaders used choicest of abuses for the Congress leadership. It is not in my interest to reply to them in that language.
Our work will speak for itself.” He went on to play his political part to perfection as he quoted Mirza Ghalib to provoke the Opposition MPs: “Humko unse wafa ki hai umeed jo nahi jaante wafa kya hai… (We expect loyalty from those that do not know the meaning of the word).” Sushma later countered him with a couplet: “Kuch to majbooriyaan rahi hongi, yun hi koi bewafa nahi hota (There must have been some compulsion, one is not disloyal for no reason)”. UPA chief Sonia Gandhi by his side, the PM sounded the poll bugle for the 2014 General Election, citing the BJP’s arrogance as its anathema and saying people would re-elect the UPA if they saw its track record of development.
“Jo garajte hain woh baraste nahi (thundering clouds don’t yield rain),” the PM told the Opposition, reminding them of the 2004 Shining India campaign that fell flat. He then ticked off Sushma Swaraj, a confidante of BJP veteran LK Advani, saying, “In 2009, they fielded the Iron Man LK Advani against the lamb Manmohan Singh.We all know the results.We have not seen BJP’s arrogance for the first time. Shining India had led to disastrous results for them. If people were to look at our records, they would repeat what they did in 2004 and 2009.” The PM was speaking to the thumping of Treasury benches led by Sonia and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
He was replying to the Motion of Thanks by MPs to the President for his address to the joint session of Parliament. The motion was carried by a voice vote, but not before the PM’s reply became the trigger for a visible UPA-NDA war of words in the House. Before provoking the BJP, the PM had taken enough time to list how the UPA’s rule yielded better results on development. So, he said how growth rate of agriculture production was 3.7% in 2005-2011 as against just 2.9% in 1998- 2003; how per capita consumption in rural areas during UPA’s time is 3.4% as against 0.8% in the NDA’s rule among others.