Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah, who recently entered the Rajya Sabha as a first-time Member of Parliament, on Monday delivered his maiden speech in the upper house.
Speaking in the House with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in attendance, Shah said most of the NDA government’s time in power has got wasted in undoing the wrongs committed by the previous Congress-led UPA government.
“Sarkaar ne jab kaam-kaaj sambhala, tab sarkaar ke paas virasat me kya tha? Jis prakaar ka gaddha tha, wo gaddha bharne mein hi sarkaar ka bahut saara samay gaya hai aur gaddha bharne ke baad in uplabhdhiyon ko ek alag najariye se dekhein (When the government took charge, what did it get in legacy? The kind of ditch it was, most of the government’s time went in filling that ditch. So, government’s achievements should be looked at in that context),” Shah said in Rajya Sabha.
He also sought to reject the claim that the Modi government was arrogant. “For the first time after Independence, a non-Congress party was given mandate by the public and it was BJP government led by PM Modi. In spite of getting the absolute majority, we formed the government with NDA members,” the BJP president said.
Hitting out at Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram’s Pakoda jibe, Shah said: “Abhi mai Chidambaram sahab ka tweet padh raha tha ki ‘mudra bank ke saath kisi ne pakode ka thela laga diya, isko rozgari kehte hain?’ Haan main maanta hu ki bheekh maangne se to accha hai ki koi mazdoori kar raha hai. Uski dusri pidhi aage aayegi to udyogpati banegi (I was reading Chidambaram’s tweet in which he said ‘somebody put up a pakoda stall near Mudra bank, is this called employment?’ I agree it is better to run a stall than beg on the streets. Their coming generation will become industrialist).”
Lauding PM Modi’s achievements, Shah said, “Chai waale ka beta aaj Pradhan Mantri bankar is sadan me baitha hai (A tea-seller’s son is sitting in Parliament as prime minister).”
The BJP president further described the Modi government’s move to provide free health insurance to around 50 crore people as unprecedented and courageous.
“Nowhere in the world has any government shown the courage to provide Rs 5 lakh health insurance to 50 crore people free of cost. That is why, ‘Ayushman Bharat’ will be known by the name of ‘Namo healthcare’,” Shah said.
On Goods and Services Tax (GST), he refuted claims that the BJP had opposed it. “BJP never opposed GST, it had only opposed its implementation. UPA had conceptualised GST. States suffered due to lowering of cess. UPA was supposed to compensate but it was NDA which compensated Rs 37,000 crores,” Shah stated.
He also hit out at Rahul Gandhi for calling GST, Gabbar Singh Tax. “The decision to introduce GST was unanimous. And what was it called? Gabbar Singh Tax! Who is Gabbar Singh? He was a dacoit in ‘Sholay’ film. Does a tax brought in legally called dacoity?” he asked.
Counting surgical strikes in PoK as a “historic moment”, the BJP president said “the world started seeing India differently afterwards. They realised that after America and Israel, India is the only country which can protect its soldiers and Army.”