New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday attacked the Opposition parties, particularly the Congress, for putting the country’s voters “in the dock” and failing to showcase the strength of Indian democracy and its polling system by questioning the mandate of the recent Lok Sabha polls, and also the maturity of voters.
Replying in the Rajya Sabha to the debate on the motion of thanks on the President’s address, Mr Modi attacked the Congress for questioning veracity of EVMs and, in an apparent dig at the Congress leadership, said when a leader was not able to trust himself or admit a fault, then the fault was put on the EVM, as he recalled how BJP leaders and its cadre worked effortlessly to increase their tally from two MPs to the present.
Mr Modi said there was a limit to the “arrogance” of the party as it put voters in the dock by questioning their verdict and said there was a problem with the Congress as it does not accept defeat and cannot digest victory.
“After such a big mandate, you say you (BJP) have won, but the country has lost... If the Congress loses, does the country get defeated? Does the Congress mean the country and the country mean the Congress? There is a limit to arrogance... I was sad when some leaders said the BJP and its allies won the election but the nation lost, democracy has lost. I want to clearly say such statements are unfortunate. Why question the wisdom of voters?” he added.
He asked whether the Congress felt that if it did not win, India lost, or are India and the Congress the same thing? Mr Modi then wondered whether the Congress’ victory in the Wayanad and Rae Bareli seats too were the “defeat of the country”?
“Due to narrow-mindedness and perversity of thoughts, if some people do not accept the mandate of the people by saying that ‘you may have won the election but the country has lost’, there can be nothing more insulting for our democracy than this,” he said.
Noting that the Congress was not able to win even a single Lok Sabha seat in 17 states, he said it was time for the Congress to introspect and “accept defeat”.
“My friends in the Congress: They have not been able to digest victory. They have not been able to accept defeat. I do not consider this to be a healthy sign in a democracy,” he said.
Hitting out at the Congress for questioning EVMs, Mr Modi said when the world should know more about “our electoral processes as the scale is immense”, some people kept talking about the EVM issue. He reminded the Congress that the discussion on electoral reforms had started in 1977 during its government, and the rules for the EVMs formulated in 1992, again when the Congress was in power.
The PM said there had been so many polls with EVMs and the parties represented in the Rajya Sabha have got opportunities to govern in some state or the other after elections conducted through EVMs. “Then, why question the EVMs today?”, he asked, and said the Opposition has the same attitude with the “One Nation, One Election” suggestion.
The motion of thanks to the President for his address was later passed by Parliament after the Prime Minister’s reply. The motion had been passed by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.