You came on false promises, not stopped lying: Mallikarjun Kharge

Deeptiman Tiwary
New Delhi: Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge speaks as party President Rahul Gandhi looks on, during the Triple Talaq debate, in the Lok Sabha in New Delhi, Thursday, Dec. 27, 2018. (LSTV Grab via PTI)

Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of weakening democratic institutions and using the President's address to score political points and exaggerate the government's performance, Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge Thursday said "you came to power by making false promises and have still not stopped lying and misleading people".

Participating in a discussion on the motion of thanks to the President's address, Kharge called the PM arrogant who, in his "hatred", was not ready to recognise the Congress contribution to the progress of the country since Independence. Read what PM Modi said in Parliament

Kharge quoted Basavanna, the 12th century Lingayat philosopher-poet, saying the Prime Minister too quoted him often. "Do not steal, do not kill and do not utter the untruth" was what Basavanna said, Kharge told the House, before turning it to "do not do Rafale, do not lynch people and do not lie".

"Basavanna also said, 'never be angry, never hate others, don't boast about yourself and don't criticise others'," he said.

Kharge mocked BJP members saying they are all grateful to the PM because he helped them win the election. He then quoted 19th-century Irish nationalist Daniel O'Connell: "But no man can be grateful at the cost of his honour. No woman can be grateful at the cost of her chastity. And no nation can be grateful at the cost of its liberty."

Putting blind faith in one man, Kharge said, can lead to erosion of institutions. "Bhakti in politics is sure road to degradation and eventual road to dictatorship," he said.

He took a swipe at the Prime Minister for vigorously thumping the desk each time the government was praised: "It is one thing to make a speech and thump the desk to laud it and another to save the country and democracy."

Criticising the government on lynchings, Kharge said, "Lynchings have happened in the name of caste… cow protection… Under this government, mob lynchings have been institutionalised. You said you would not tolerate the activities of certain organisations, yet they kept happening. Why?"

He said under the Modi government's watch, Dalits were beaten for riding horses or entering temples, and shots were fired at a picture of Mahatma Gandhi while his assassin Nathuram Godse's picture was garlanded.

"You have snatched away freedom of expression. And now you have finished SC/ST reservation also," Kharge said, referring to the issue of faculty reservation in universities being restricted to departments.

"On one hand, you are giving 10 per cent reservation to upper castes, which we support, but on the other hand, you are snatching it away from those who have it," he said.

Kharge alleged that the 10 per cent EWS quota Bill was brought without consulting the Cabinet. He said that on the day the Bill was brought to the House, the government told Lok Sabha during question hour (through an unstarred question) that no provision was being made for reservation for upper caste. "The same evening, you brought this Bill. It means whatever Modiji says is done and even Cabinet is not consulted," he said.

He mocked the government's announcements for farmers in the Budget, saying it had done nothing for the agriculture sector so far and was now making promises with an eye on elections. "Farmers have understood that they are not going to benefit under this government," he said.

"You can waive Rs 1.1 lakh crore of loans given to corporates, but can't waive farm loans. Now with elections on your head, you are ferreting out various schemes," he said.

He reiterated the Congress demand for a joint parliamentary committee probe into the Rafale issue, saying a businessman, who was given a contract in the deal, recently filed for insolvency. Investigation agencies like the CBI and ED, he said, are being used to "throttle" those who do not agree with the government.