The Congress on Tuesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address was a crass election speech filled with “distortions, lies, exaggerations and vague promises.”
“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,” Congress communications chief Jairam Ramesh said in a statement.
Ramesh said the PM barely “addressed the devastation caused by the violence in Manipur, casually comparing it with incidents in other parts of the country.”
He added, “Modi 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.”
While reacting to the Prime Minister’s remark that a new world order had been ushered in as the world saw India’s capability during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Congress leader said the PM Modi deliberately failed to mention the 4 million COVID deaths, the highest in the world according to the World Health Organisation, which was “a direct result of inadequate oxygen supplies and the PM’s failure to order adequate vaccines in a timely manner.”
He went on to say: “The world has not forgotten the dead bodies piled up outside hospitals and flowing down the Ganga during the devastating second wave. He played a cruel joke on the Anganwadi and ASHA workers by thanking them for delivering 200 crore vaccines. Especially when the families of many of these essential workers were denied compensation after they had died fighting the pandemic, and those living were not even paid their wages.”
Ramesh said, referring to the Prime Minister’s remarks about the border: “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’ as our own troops who have been captured are being mistreated by the Chinese. 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 added.
The Congress leader also criticised the Prime Minister’s remark that the trinity of demography, democracy and diversity will help India become a developed country.
He said: “But he has failed on all three fronts in the last 9 years. The PM’s promise to youth that ‘Desh mein avsaron ki kami nahin hai’ is a bitter lie. The Modi government has wasted away India’s demographic dividend. One out of four educated youth is jobless and many of the rest are facing disguised unemployment, doing menial or unproductive jobs, or endlessly preparing for competitive exams. 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.”
“Diversity is being made meaningless with attacks on regional cultures and languages, and the legitimisation of mob violence against the most vulnerable, especially Dalits, Adivasis and minorities. 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,” he added.
He also said PM Modi’s talk of “women-led development” also rings hollow “when he supports sexual predators instead of our female athletes — our national champions who were dragged on the roads of the national capital – and stands by as women are stripped and raped in Manipur.”
He went on to say: “The reality is that all the reform, performance and transformation of the Modi government has ended up as a betrayal of those voters, as they are now realising. The Modi government’s ‘reforms’ have all been anti-people, be it demonetisation, flawed GST or the anti-farmer laws. The only ‘performance’ has been the 40% commission raj of BJP state governments, the function of BJP as a washing machine to ‘clean’ those opposition leaders who are arm-twisted by ED/CBI/IT to comply with or ally with the BJP, and bringing down elected state governments. And the only ‘transformation’ has been in the concentration of economic power in select Modi-made Monopolies (3M) that is exacerbating price rise and ensuring record inequality. Especially, the PM’s direct role in directing deals and government revenues towards his most favoured business group.”
The Prime Minister tried to deflect the blame for inflation on the rest of the world, Ramesh alleged.
“The reality is that the 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.”
“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,” read the last part of the Congress leader’s statement.