Why are they ashamed of using Nehru surname, PM Modi targets Gandhi family members


New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday launched a frontal attack on the Gandhi family members asking why they were ashamed of using the Nehru surname even as he criticised Jawaharlal Nehru as well as Indira Gandhi for repeatedly using Article 356 to topple state governments led by non-Congress parties.

He targeted the Congress on the issue of federalism, saying the Congress dispensations including those led by former prime ministers Nehru and Gandhi used Article 356 of the Constitution at least 90 times to topple state governments of many regional outfits.

Modi alleged that Indira Gandhi alone used Article 356 to topple governments of regional parties in states as many as 50 times.

He questioned parties such as the DMK, TDP and Left and the NCP of Sharad Pawar for aligning with the Congress which had in the past toppled their governments.

Replying to a debate on the motion of thanks on the President’s address, Modi said, “I had read in some newspaper, I have not verified it, but a report said as many as 600 government schemes are only in the name of Gandhi-Nehru family.”

He said if Nehru’s name is not mentioned, some people get upset and their blood boils. They ask why Nehru’s name is not mentioned.

“…if Nehru ji’s name is left out by us, we would correct our mistake as he was the first prime minister of the country. But I do not understand why anyone from his clan is afraid of keeping Nehru surname? Is there any shame in having the Nehru surname? What is the shame? When the family is not ready to accept such a great personality, why do you keep questioning us,” he said.

His attack was targeted at Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Sonia Gandhi.

Modi delivered his 90-minute speech amidst the Opposition members shouting for a probe by a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) into allegations raised against the Adani Group by the US-based Hindenburg Research firm.

Responding to charges that his government was not cooperating with states, Modi said he was a chief minster before becoming the prime minister and he understood the importance of federalism.

“I have come here after being the chief minister of a state for long. I fully understand the importance of federalism. And that’s why we have emphasized on cooperative, competitive federalism.”

The prime minister asked political parties to compete, cooperate and move forward in the same direction.

“We have taken care of national progress in our policies and have addressed regional aspirations. The perfect combination of national progress and regional aspiration is reflected in our policies and we all move forward to fulfil the dream of a developed India by 2047,” he said.

He, however pointed out that MPs who are sitting in the opposition today had taken away the rights of states.

“I just want to expose them. Take a look at the history and see, which party was it, who were the people in power who misused Article 356 the most and toppled elected governments 90 times. Who are the ones who did it,” he said.

Modi said a prime minister used Article 356 as many as 50 times, hit half a century and the premier’s name was Indira Gandhi.

“Those who are standing with them in Kerala today, just remember, Left government was elected in Kerala which Pandit Nehru did not like. The first elected government was sent home within a short span of time. Today you are standing there, just remember what happened to you,” he said.

He also sought to remind the DMK that the governments of stalwarts like M G Ramachandran and M Karunanidhi in Tamil Nadu were also dismissed by the same Congress.

“MGR’s soul must be watching where you are standing. Sitting here is the senior member of this House whom I always consider a respected leader, Mr. Sharad Pawar. Sharad Pawar ji was 35-40 years old in 1980. A young chief minister went out to serve his motherland, his government was also toppled, today he is there,” Modi said.

He further said the Congress harassed every regional leader, including N T Rama Rao and M G Ramachandran.

“Some people here must have changed clothes, names…after being advised by astrologers. but they were also with them at one time. NTR government was sought to be toppled at a time when he had gone to America for health check-up. This was the level of Congress politics,” Modi said.

Modi did not stop his tirade against the grand old party.

Every newspaper used to write that the Raj Bhavans were converted into Congress offices and headquarters of the Congress, he stressed.

In 2005, the NDA had more seats in Jharkhand but the Governor called the UPA to form government. In Haryana in 1982, the BJP and Devi Lal had a pre-poll agreement, but the then governor invited the Congress to form the government.

This is the Congress’s past and today it is trying to mislead the country, Modi added.

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( With inputs from )

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