All eyes on PM Modi’s reply to Rahul Gandhi, other opposition leaders


New Delhi: The debate on the no-confidence motion brought by the opposition alliance led by Congress will conclude on Thursday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reply. 

This will be followed by voting — the outcome of which is already known with the numbers comfortably stacked in favour of the government.

The debate on the no-confidence motion brought by Congress and BRS over Manipur Violence was kickstarted by Gaurav Gogoi on Tuesday who said that the move was aimed at breaking PM’s ‘maun vrat’.

Earlier on Wednesday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tore into the Modi government over its handling of the violence in Manipur, alleging the politics of the BJP has “murdered Bharat Mata”, drawing a fiery response from Union ministers Amit Shah and Smriti Irani.

Gandhi, in his first comments in the House after the restoration of his membership, alleged that the prime minister does not consider Manipur a part of India, triggering strong protests by the treasury benches. 

The prime minister cannot go to Manipur because “he has murdered Hindustan there…You are not the protectors of Bharat Mata,” he alleged.

Speaker Birla then urged Gandhi to exercise restraint while speaking in the House, asserting that “Bharat Mata is our mother”.

Responding to the Speaker’s remarks, Gandhi said, “I am talking about my mother in Manipur. I am speaking with respect ….. My mother is sitting here. The other mother, Bharat Mata… in Manipur,” he said pointing to Sonia Gandhi who was present in the House.

Rahul Gandhi also went on to say that it is the Army that can bring peace to Manipur but the government is not deploying it.

He also alleged that the prime minister listens to only two people, Amit Shah and Gautam Adani, just as Ravan paid heed to only two people’s advice — Meghnad and Kumbhakaran.

Gandhi showed an old poster of Modi and Adani sitting together in an aircraft, and claimed that “Modi doesn’t listen to India’s voice but theirs (Adani group).” After the treasury benches protested over the poster, pointing out that it was not allowed by the rules, Speaker Birla again asked Gandhi to exercise restraint.

“Hanuman had not burnt down Lanka, Ravan’s arrogance did it. Ravan was not killed by Ram but by his arrogance,” Gandhi said, referring to the Indian epic Ramayana.

“I went to Manipur a few days ago. Our prime minister has not gone there, he has not gone there till now. He does not consider Manipur part of India. I used the word Manipur, but the reality is that there is no Manipur left. You have divided Manipur into two parts, you have broken up Manipur,” Gandhi said.

Several Rajya Sabha members of the Congress were in the Rajya Sabha gallery of the Lok Sabha to hear him speak for the first time after his reinstatement as an MP.

“You are sprinkling kerosene everywhere. You sprinkled kerosene in Manipur and then added fire to it. You are now trying the same thing in Haryana. You are attempting to burn the country everywhere,” he said, referring to recent communal clashes in Gurugram and Nuh.

PM Modi is expected to reply to all the allegations in his speech later today.

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