Those who said tricolor will disturb peace, joined tiranga yatra in JK: PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking at Lok Sabha in New Delhi on Wednesday. (UNI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking at Lok Sabha in New Delhi on Wednesday. (UNI)

‘I wear 140 cr Indians’ trust as protective shield’
Record tourist arrival, festival  of democracy being celebrated
I unfurled tricolor at Lal Chowk  in 1991 braving terror threats

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Feb 8: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today that peace has returned to Jammu and Kashmir, tourist arrival has broken all records, democracy festival is being celebrated there, every house observed ‘Tiranga Festival’ and separatists are nowhere to be seen.
Modi made these remarks while replying to debate on Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address in Lok Sabha this afternoon.
Without naming anyone, the Prime Minister said some leaders used to say that ‘tiranga’ (tricolor) will disturb peace.
“See how the time has changed. Now these leaders themselves joined ‘tiranga yatra,’ he said referring to ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ taken out recently by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in Kashmir which was also joined by PDP president Mehbooba Mufti and National Conference leaders Dr Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah.
Before abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution granting special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba had given a statement in the Valley that if this Article was touched no one will be left in Kashmir to unfurl tricolor.
“There is peace in Jammu and Kashmir now and tourism is on a historic rise. Tourists are coming in large numbers in J&K after decades. All records of tourist arrival have been broken,” he said.
Modi said the theatres are also running houseful in Kashmir and separatists are nowhere to be seen now.
He added that the festival of democracy is being celebrated in Jammu and Kashmir. Recently festival of hoisting tricolor in every house was also celebrated with enthusiasm.
Recalling his Ekta Yatra to Jammu and Kashmir in 1991, Modi said that he had unfurled the tricolor at Lal Chowk in Srinagar on January 26 “without a bulletproof jacket” despite the terrorists’ threats.
“Those (referring to Rahul Gandhi who recently concluded Bharat Jodo Yatra) who came back from J-K recently must have seen how easily you can go there. I too had gone on a yatra to J&K with the resolve to unfurl the tricolor at Lal Chowk (in Srinagar). Terrorists had put up posters and said, “Dekhte hain, kisne maa ka doodh piya hai jo Lal Chowk aake Tiranga phehra paaye”,” Modi recalled.
“That day on January 24, at a public rally, I had said, “Terrorists just listen. On January 26, sharp at 11 am, I will reach Lal Chowk without security and a bulletproof jacket. Faisla Lal Chowk pe hoga kisne apni maa ka doodh piya hai”. Then I unfurled the tricolor at Lal Chowk,” he added.
“Today, people can go easily in hundreds in number in Jammu and Kashmir,” he pointed out without mentioning the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ of Rahul Gandhi.
“No one can forget the attacks of 2008. The lack of courage in acting against terrorism led to a bloodbath and the loss of lives of our innocent citizens. It’s synonymous with the UPA’s misrule,” Modi said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday the trust reposed in him by crores of people was his protective shield against the “lies, allegations and abuses” of his critics, as he launched a stinging counterattack on the Opposition over its bid to target him over the Adani-Hindenburg issue.
Modi said he had spent every moment of his life working for the nation and contrasted the “lost decade” of the Congress-led UPA rule with the advent of “India’s decade” under his government.
In his nearly 85-minute speech, Modi said the world was looking at India with hope and positivity amid instability in many parts of the globe due to the once-in-a-century pandemic in Covid-19 and conflicts. The trust of global institutions in India is due to the presence of a stable and decisive government, he stressed.
This Government has the strength to take decisions in national interest and carries out reforms not out of compulsion but conviction, he said.
“But some people who are neck deep in frustration cannot see India’s growth story. They cannot see the achievements of 140 crore Indians,” he said, targeting the Opposition.
They failed when they were in power and they have failed in the opposition as well, he said in a swipe at the Congress which led by Rahul Gandhi has been unsparing in attacking the government over the Adani-Hindenburg issue.
While he values criticism as a purification exercise for democracy but “compulsive criticism” has replaced constructive criticism in the last nine years, the prime minister said, claiming that some people have been nursing this “misconception” for 22 years that they can rise by “abusing” him.
While opposition parties could not come together despite frequent election losses, they have now joined hands after the Enforcement Directorate’s action in corruption cases, he claimed.
“They should thank the ED. It brought them together, something voters could not do,” he said. Opposition parties have accused the investigation agency of working as a government instrument to target the BJP’s rivals.
He said the Opposition had wasted the last nine years in levelling baseless allegations instead of indulging in constructive criticism.
While the Opposition alleges that India has weakened globally and lost its voice, it also accuses the government of influencing other countries to take certain decisions, he said.
This is quite a contradiction and the Opposition should make up its mind whether the country is strong or weak under him, he said, drawing laughter from the treasury benches.
Modi’s rebuttal came against the backdrop of the Opposition’s charge that his dispensation influences foreign powers to favour the Adani group.
“When you lose elections, blame the EVMs, criticise the Election Commission, if the Supreme Court does not give a favourable verdict, criticise the apex court.
“If corruption is being probed, abuse the investigative agencies. If the Army displays valour and the narrative infuses confidence in people, abuse the armed forces, level allegations against them. When there is talk of economic progress, criticise the RBI,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister asserted that he has not come this far due to media headlines but has spent every moment of his life for the nation.
“The trust people have in Modi is beyond their understanding,” he said, asserting the lies and abuses hurled at him will not pass muster with crores of people who have benefited from a number of his government’s schemes, ranging from free grains to building toilets and houses, subsidised medicine, health insurance and piped water.
“Some people have been living for their family. I live for 25 crore Indian families,” he said. “The protective shield of the trust reposed by 140 crore Indians cannot be breached by the weapons of lies,” he added,
The Prime Minister cited terror attacks in different parts of India during the UPA government, its “absence” of response following the Mumbai attack and various alleged scams involving 2G, coal allocation and the 2010 Commonwealth Games to target the Congress.
He contrasted it with the boom in start-ups, effective response to terrorism and boost in infrastructure under the BJP-led NDA rule since 2014.
Every time the treasury benches raised “Modi, Modi” slogans to laud the prime minister’s address, opposition members countered this with chants of “Adani, Adani”. Modi made no mention of the businessman’s name but frequently targeted the Opposition over its charges against him.
The speech, peppered with couplets, was marked with his usual sarcasm and biting criticism of rivals, besides a reference to a number of achievements he credited his nearly nine-year-old government for.
With Rahul Gandhi absent during a big part of his speech before he arrived in Lok Sabha, Modi said an entire ecosystem is jumping with joy after some speeches, a likely reference to the Congress leader’s attack on him on Tuesday.
“Some people would have slept well. They have probably not woken up yet,” he added, evoking laughter from BJP members.
In a swipe at the main opposition party, he said some have this “craze” about Harvard studies and noted that one of them was about the “rise and decline” of the Congress. Big universities will also be studying the decimation of the Congress and also those behind it, he added.
The Prime Minister said India was emerging as a manufacturing hub and the world now sees its prosperity in the country’s growth.
India now ranks third in the number of start-ups, 108 unicorns rose here during the pandemic, it is globally second in mobile manufacturing, it is number three in the world in domestic air traffic and its energy consumption is third globally, he said.
India had little presence in the port sector but now its players are making their mark, the Prime Minister said.
Some people cannot come to terms with this progress and people’s repeated rejection of them as they sink into hopelessness, he said.
He said President Droupadi Murmu’s address to Parliament was an inspiration for everyone and added that opposition members did not criticise its content.
Raising slogans in support of their demand for a JPC probe into the Adani issue, members of the BRS walked out soon after Modi began his reply. Congress members also walked out but rejoined the proceedings after Gandhi came.
Some opposition members tried to interrupt the speech but were told by the Speaker to maintain decorum.