Prime Minister Narendra Modi lashed out at his political opponents in a more than two-hour long speech – accusing the opposition of historical mis-governance, corruption and nepotism — and only briefly touched on the ongoing deadly violence in the state of Manipur that led to the no confidence vote against his government.
(Bloomberg) — Prime Minister Narendra Modi lashed out at his political opponents in a more than two-hour long speech – accusing the opposition of historical mis-governance, corruption and nepotism — and only briefly touched on the ongoing deadly violence in the state of Manipur that led to the no confidence vote against his government.
Before the vote, Modi said the main opposition Congress party’s politics is behind the ethnic clashes in the northeastern state, that has killed more than 150 people and displaced 50,000 others.
“Today, the Manipur situation is being presented in such a manner as if this is a recent problem,” said Modi on Thursday. “I want to say this with full seriousness today that if there is one cause of all these troubles in the northeast, it is the Congress. It’s their politics that’s responsible for it.”
As expected, his government easily defeated the no trust motion in a voice vote as opposition lawmakers walked out in protest during Modi’s reply.
The no confidence motion was an attempt by the opposition to ramp up pressure on Modi ahead of elections expected next summer. It was also to compel him to speak on the violence. His first comments came months after the conflict erupted when a video surfaced in the third week of July of two women being paraded naked and allegedly raped in Manipur on May 4.
This is the second no confidence vote that Modi has faced since coming to power nearly a decade ago. The first was in 2018 when the opposition filed a motion saying his government failed on economic, defense and foreign policies, a move he also defeated. The latest no trust vote was over the conflict between two ethnic groups — the Christian Kukis and the Hindu Meiteis – over access to affirmative action benefits in the state bordering Myanmar.
Modi’s opponents say the Hindu-dominant Bharatiya Janata Party has made the South Asian country less tolerant of religious and ethnic minorities with violence in Manipur and the recent Hindu-Muslim clashes near the capital New Delhi.
Rahul Gandhi, leader of the Congress party, who was reinstated as a lawmaker this week after a stay on his defamation conviction by India’s top court, on Wednesday said Modi’s administration was doing little to bring peace to the region.
Modi during his speech touted development projects his government has undertaken in the Himalayan reaches of India’s northeast. He also spoke about the various religious riots and incidents of alleged state-sponsored violence under his predecessors. He also spoke about the 1962 war against China, when India’s northeastern states were theaters of action.
“I want to assure the people of Manipur — the mothers, sisters and daughters — the country is with you. We will together find a solution to this challenge and peace will be restored,” said Modi. “We will take every step to bring Manipur back to the development track.”
Highlighting India’s achievement during his tenure, Modi said India will become the third-largest economy in the world, when he retains power for the third term after 2024 elections.
“Opposition’s no confidence has always been lucky for us,” said Modi. “Today, I can see you have decided that the BJP and the ruling coalition will come back in 2024 elections with a grand victory, breaking all previous records, with the blessings of the people,” he said referring to opposition.
–With assistance from Abhijit Roy Chowdhury and Rajesh Kumar Singh.
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