Prime Minister avoids Adani, swears by ‘Brand Modi’
By Vivekanand Jha*
New Delhi: In his reply to the Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi refrained from taking the name of either capitalist Gautam Adani, who is perceptibly close to him, or his Adani Group in his over-an-hour-long speech in Lok Sabha today.
In the process, he also turned a deaf ear to the Opposition’s demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee to probe the Adani Group for alleged irregularities. Instead, he claimed that today “there is positivity and hope towards India at a global level”. He went on to credit this positivity to stability, India’s global standing, the growing capability of India and new emerging possibilities in India.
Also read: Counterpoint: ‘India first’ versus ‘Adani first’
He went on to claim that “trust in Modi is not born from newspaper headlines. This trust in Modi has not come from the shining faces on TV. Life has been wasted, every moment has been spent. We have spent our every moment for the people of the country, we have spent our every moment for the bright future of the country”.
He chose to throw light on the atmosphere of trust in the country and claimed his government to be stable and decisive. “The world is seeing prosperity in India’s prosperity,” he said and attacked the Opposition for indulging in compulsive criticism rather than constructive criticism.
“The trust that the countrymen have in Modi is beyond their understanding and is much higher than their understanding. Will the 80 crore countrymen of my country, who are getting free rations on these false accusers, ever trust them?” he said.
Modi claimed that in the last 9 years, “we have had compulsive critics who indulge in unsubstantiated allegations instead of constructive criticism”. The Prime Minister said that such criticism will not pass muster with the people who are experiencing the basic facilities for the first time now. He said instead of a dynasty, he is a member of a family of 140 crore Indians. “The blessings of 140 crore Indians are my Suraksha Kavach”, he remarked.
The PM at the same time launched a counter-offensive and listed scams under the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance’s (UPA) regime. Apparently, he appeared in no mood to relent while criticising the UPA government which preceded his government, drawing attention to the decade before 2014. He said that the years between 2004 to 2014 were burdened with scams and at the same time there were terror attacks happening in every corner of the country. He said this decade saw the decline of the Indian economy and the Indian voice grew very feeble on global fora. The era was marked by ‘Mauke main musibat’ – adversity in opportunity, he added and observed that India under UPA was called the ‘Lost Decade’ while today people are calling the present decade ‘India’s Decade’.
Modi sought to turn the table on the Congress Party by playing ball with it when he mocked the Congress by ridiculing its statement that the destruction of India during the Corona period will be a case study in Harvard University. “But Honorable Speaker, in the past years a very good study has taken place in Harvard, a very important study has taken place… The study is ‘The Rise and Decline of India’s Congress Party’. This study has been done and I am sure, Mr Speaker, I am sure that in the future, studies will have to be done on the destruction of Congress, not only in Harvard but in other big universities too,” Modi said.
In the final analysis, the Opposition’s massive screening in front of the camera, seeking the JPC probe, appeared a non-issue before Modi. The Prime Minister instead went on to highlight how the handling of the country during once-in-a-century calamity and war “has filled every Indian with confidence”. Even in such a time of turmoil, India has emerged as the 5th largest economy in the world, he pointed out.
The Prime Minister noted that challenges might arise but with the determination of 140 crore Indians, the nation can overcome all the obstacles that come our way. What was even more conspicuous was his emphasis on Brand Modi.
So the question arises that whether by skipping even the remotest reference to Adani in his address, didn’t Modi make it clear that Adani still has the Prime Minister’s backing. Going by this logic, the chances of a JPC appear, at best, to have been scuppered for now.