Indian PM calls out 'political spin' over Parliament security breach
Voicing concerns over unprecedented scenes of protests and bulk suspensions in Parliament over the security breach incident, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said the events of December 13, which should have been unequivocally condemned across the aisle, was being given a 'political spin' by the combined Opposition, party sources said.
Addressing the BJP's Parliamentary Party meeting in the national capital on Tuesday, the BJP, according to party sources, said the ongoing protests both inside and outside the Parliament were the Opposition's way of venting out its frustrations after being routed in three of the five states that went to polls last month.
"Whatever happened in Parliament recently, those who believe in democracy will not accept such an act. This act should have been condemned. However, unfortunately, what I have been witnessing is that the Opposition is letting out its frustration of losing in the election and giving a political spin to the entire act," PM Modi said at the last BJP's Parliamentary Party meeting of this year.
The Parliamentary Party, which includes all its Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members, usually meets every week during sessions.
During his address to party MPs, PM Modi said the act of the Opposition of giving 'muted and indirect support' to the Parliament security breach is worrisome.
Since the December 13 incident, which saw two persons with smoke canisters jumping into the Lok Sabha from the visitors' gallery, triggering panic inside the House on December 13; the Opposition lawmakers have been disrupting the proceedings in both Houses demanding a statement from Union Home Minister Amit Shah on the incident.
A total of 141 MPs -- 95 from Lok Sabha and 46 from Rajya Sabha -- were suspended since December 14, following a ruckus over the demand by the Opposition for a statement from Shah on the December 13 incident.
"The Opposition members coming out in defence of the accused in the Parliament breach incident and making statements such as 'what else could they have done' is worrisome and condemnable," the sources quoted PM Modi as saying.
Earlier, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi ruffled feathers in the ruling BJP claiming that the breach was a fallout of 'unemployment' and 'inflation' in the country.
Prime Minister Modi, according to sources, said the Opposition's antics and actions clearly indicate that they have made up their minds to occupy the Opposition benches again.
"The nation has also made up its mind to keep them in the Opposition and will perhaps push them even more behind from where they currently stand. We should expose the Opposition while keeping ourselves in control. It should be done by staying within the limits of democracy," PM Modi said at the BJP meeting.
Urging the party MPs to attend the ongoing Parliament's Winter Session, he said, "In the coming days, regardless of whether the others are participating or not, we must participate in the proceedings of the Parliament."
"Some of the Bills, which are to be taken up, are of great importance. We should participate in discussions around them," he added.
Taking a swipe at the bulk suspension of opposition MPs, he said that it would have been good if the Opposition members, too, participated in these debates. "But, it appears that they are not destined for good deeds."
Further, according to sources, PM Modi said he was confident of the NDA securing a third term in the 2024 elections, saying, "I expect that in 2024, the entire block in this room will be filled (with BJP MPs)."
Lashing out at the Opposition, he said, "Some people have come together with the sole intent of removing the BJP. However, on the other side, we are nationalists and patriots working for the betterment of the country. Some people are exerting all their strength to remove the government but we are putting all our might into taking the country to new heights."
He noted that he has never missed the party's parliamentary meeting since 2014.
"I feel satisfied that in the last 10 years, I have never missed this BJP parliamentary meeting whenever I was in Delhi. I am happy that even today, the BJP Karyakarta in me is alive. I participated in the Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra over the last two days. As a parliamentarian, it was a learning and enriching experience and I felt so connected with the people," he added in his address to fellow party members.
The PM also weighed in on the state of the border villages, saying, "Earlier, the villages that were considered last villages are now being developed as first villages."
"Dhordo village in Gujarat is a model for the development of border villages. Dhordo earned the tag of the best tourist destination by the UN recently. You all must visit Dhordo and work to ensure that in your respective constituencies, the first villages are developed on par with the best," he added.
Invoking his recent visits to Gujarat's Surat and Kashi Tamil Sangamam event in Varanasi, he said, "I visited Surat yesterday and inaugurated the Diamond Bourse. It gives me immense pleasure witnessing how the nation is progressing."
"I did a new experiment in communicating with our guests from the South through artificial intelligence (AI) at Kashi Tamil Sangamam this time. I delivered a speech in Hindi and it got translated into Tamil in almost real-time. The same could be followed live on headsets. The experience shared by people was encouraging. I will try to explore more ways of using this language AI tool to connect with people. You all should visit villages and let people know about this new tech," he added.
PM Modi also urged fellow party leaders to reach out to youngsters, who will vote for the first time in the 2024 general elections.
"The 18-year-olds and the first-time voters today were eight years old when we first came to power in 2014. They are not aware of how the country was grappling with corruption in those days. They have only heard about the developmental projects under our government. It should be our priority to make these youngsters aware of how the nation was grappling with corruption and other challenges before 2014. On National Voters Day, we could undertake a joint initiative to raise awareness among young and first-time voters about the challenges we faced and had to navigate 10 years ago," he said.
"We should understand the aspirations of our youth and make them aware of the immense potential of our country and how far we could go," Prime Minister Modi added.