In politics, Bhakti or hero-worship is a sure road to degradation and to eventual dictatorship

The mover and the seconder of the Motion of thanks for the President’s Address mentioned few things. Although conventionally, the Motion of Thanks is mostly appreciation, while what we heard was nothing but an election speech. When you make certain comments, it becomes our responsibility to answer that too. In this address, the basic issues of the people have been disregarded. I will start my speech with these words because Sardar’ (Prime Minister) has also come here:

Lashkar bhi tumharahai, Sardar bhi tumhara hai, Tum jhooth ko sach likh do, Akhbar bhi tumhara hai. Is daur ke fariyadi, jaayein to jaayein kahaan, Sarkar bhi tumhari hai, darbar bh itumharahai.

• When I was the leader of the Congress party in the Lok Sabha, the Prime Minister used to recite the words of Mahatma Basaveshwara (Basavanna Ji) a couple of times. Basaveshwara Ji belonged to our Karnataka province. He was a great social reformer and he had to give up his life fighting for social reform. He had said, ‘He who has wealth, builds a temple. But I am a poor man, what can I do? My feet are pillars and my body is the temple. My head is the Kalash of this temple.’ Basavannaji believed that the temple is not made of stones, but for it there should be faith to follow that religion, there should be talk of taking everyone along. • The President’s Address is a policy document that outlines the future course of action. But there is neither policy, nor any viewpoint in the address. I thought Rashtrapati Ji comes from a marginalized section and would have immense feeling for the upliftment of the downtrodden and therefore, there must be something special in his address, but I did not find anything in it. It neither mentions inflation, unemployment, nor does it mention measures to alleviate the challenges faced by the Dalits and tribal society, and the poor condition of farmers and labourers. • Our democracy is in great danger today. If someone speaks the truth, he is called a traitor. If a farmer raises his voice, you call him a terrorist. Labourers are called Naxalites. If the corpses of people who died of Covid are buried on the banks of rivers, then you tell them to be part of the past rituals.
• Today the country is battling with unprecedented unemployment, there is great dissatisfaction among the youth as they are not getting work. Investment is not coming in and big manufacturing units are closing down and also government jobs are getting scantier. In December 2021, more than one crore salaried people lost their jobs. • There are about nine lakh posts vacant in the Government of India. There are 15% (237,295) vacancies in Railways, 40% (247,842) in Defence and 12% (128,842) under the Ministry of Home Affairs. Giving a new job is a distant thing, you do not even fill the vacant posts. Both employment and reservation are endangered. • Today the urban unemployment rate is 9% and the rural rate is 7.25%. The unemployment rate for women is 26%, which is three times higher than that of men at 8%. In the largest employing MSME sector, 60% of the units are on the verge of closure. You say a lot about empowering MSMEs but nothing is happening on the ground. • Even during the worst crisis of employment, the same MGNREGA emerged as the major support of poor people, which Modi Ji used to call as a living monument of the failure of the UPA. That very monument worked during Covid. Lakhs of migrant labourers got work.
• There is no mention of inflation and measures to deal with itin the address. India’s Wholesale Price Index rose to 14.23% in November 2021, breaking a 12-year record. In 2020, the prices of crude oil fell to $ 25 per barrel, but you kept hiking the price of petrol and diesel. Petrol-diesel prices increased by more than 30% between January and November 2021. You increased the excise duty on petroleum products by more than 275%. You earned more than Rs. 25 lakh crores from excise duty in the last seven years. But not one penny of that money was used to help the poor. • You talked about bringing Achhe din, but inflation has made life miserable for the poor. The price of LPG cylinders increased by 117%. The cylinder which was available for Rs. 414 in 2014 is worth about Rs. 1000 today. The prices of all essential things have gone up. • It is shameful that we stand at number 101 out of 116 countries in the Hunger Index. You claim that you are giving free food grains to 80 crore people. But you should remember that it is because of the same Food Security Act brought by the UPA regime. This plan was launched based on the initiative of UPA Chairperson Smt. Sonia Gandhi, and implemented by the government of Dr. Manmohan Singh. You had opposed this plan at that time. • Today, inequality or economic inequality has increased a lot in the country. 1% of the people in the country possess 22% income. 9% of the people have 35% and 40% of the middle class people have 30% share whereas 50% of the workers, farmers, dalits, oppressed and poor falling at the bottom have 13% income. No effort is being made to reduce poverty. • I can say with certainty that the strongest effort to reduce poverty was made during the Prime Ministership of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. By forming the Planning Commission, he did the work of laying the new foundation of the country. Many scientific institutes such as IITs, ITIs, skill Development were established. Khadi Village Industries Commission was formed. Dams like Bhakra Nangal, Hirakud, Damodar Valley to Nagarjuna Sagar were built. Our food imports were stopped and there were many other achievements. The country was built by someone else; the foundation was laid by someone else, but you are only doing the work of putting your own flag on it. • Your foreign policy as well as national security policy are also very poor. The issue of China is very important. You do not say anything about China yourself and are keeping silent. • I am showing you this map, in which everything is clearly visible. Our exports from China were Rs 3.8 lakh crore in 2013, which increased to Rs 7.2 lakh crore in 2021. Our trade deficit was Rs 2.70 lakh crore in 2013 which has now increased to Rs 5.25 lakh crore. It’s probably because of your sitting in a swing with China. Our imports are four times what you send to China. Is it self-reliance or reliance on China? • Today, why India is not becoming prominent despite so many talks and announcements of ‘Make in India’, is a matter to think about. • Our PSUs had 13.50 lakh regular employees in 2013, which has come down to 9 lakh in 2020. In 2013, 3 lakh people were working on contract, which has now become 5 lakh. With privatisation, the government has endangered both reservation and social empowerment. • There is a discussion on farmers in this address, but there is no mention of doubling their income. The reality is that the income of farmers has declined further. The address didn’t even mention the repeal of the black agricultural laws that you had described as the best when they were brought. You brought the black agriculture law, which you had to withdraw, to help the industrialists. The farmer’s agitation continued for more than a year and more than 700 farmers lost their lives. Had the law been withdrawn earlier and the MSP issue was resolved, this would not have happened. But you insisted. No compensation was given to the families of more than 700 farmers who lost their lives. I would request that you listen to their other demands as well. • BJP and RSS leaders called the Annadatas as terrorists, Khalistanis and Mawalis. The son of a Union Minister rammed a jeep from behind on poor farmers and killed four of them. There is nothing in the speech about this. First of all you remove the Minister of State for Home as he influences the investigation going on in this matter. He had threatened the farmers. You say you take immediate action, then you should have removed the minister immediately, but you have not done that. Insurance companies made a profit of Rs. 18 thousand crores in the name of farmers in the crop insurance scheme. The prices of fertilisers, seeds, diesel, electricity, water and agricultural equipment have gone up. But you are helping the rich, many of whom are your friends and are already connected to you. • The issues of Dalits and Adivasi society are also serious. Crimes against scheduled castes increased by 30% and crimes against tribals by 26% during 2015 to 2020. From 2018 till now, the amount of post-matric scholarship for SC students has come down from Rs. 6000 crores to Rs. 1300 crores. • The worst condition is that of the Christian community in the country, which has been subjected to 500 attacks since 2021. Many institutions, including the well-known institution founded by Mother Teresa, are being harassed. In Karnataka and other BJP ruled states, minorities are being harassed in the name of anti-conversion law. A festival like Christmas which is celebrated peacefully all over the world and people of all religions participate in it, but on that occasion also the people of Sangh Parivar create ruckus by entering the church. They work to defame India all over the world. But I condemn what happened on December 25-26 and December 31. • You spent a lot of money on NamamiGange Yojana, but Ganga is still dirty. The National Education Policy was talked about in the address, but the Right to Education Act has also been given by the UPA itself. You are taking it in a new direction and the RSS curriculum is being managed. • You took a lot of credit in the Covid case but when the most dreadful phase came, Modi Ji failed. More than 50 lakh deaths were caused by Covid. Corpses were burnt on the roads. Many dead bodies were floating in the Ganga River. Our Party had demanded a compensation of Rs. 4 lakh. I myself met you and gave you a letter with suggestions. Manmohan Ji, Sonia Ji and Rahul Ji also gave you letters. What happened to that we do not know but you did not even acknowledge these constructive suggestions. • I want to say a few things about PM CARES. You say you are transparent, then why are you trying to hide the figures here? Our armed forces, PSUs, and many other people have donated to this fund, then why can it not be audited by the CAG? • The issue of labour welfare is also important. Four labour laws should also be withdrawn in the same way as all three laws related to farmers were withdrawn. • Everywhere you are using ED or CBI against your political opponents. You conduct income tax raids. If there is a defection to your side, you give him a ticket and the cases of ED and CBI are closed. • You never faced the same challenge of laying the foundation of the country, which was faced by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru or Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Ji after independence. You got everything readymade and ready to consume. • Here I remember one thing of Babasaheb- ‘Bhakti in religion may be a road to the salvation of the soul. But in politics, Bhakti or hero-worship is a sure road to degradation and to eventual dictatorship.’ • You are making the President give false promises in his address. But we will continue to expose these false promises to the people.