PM’s Speech Amid Opposition Chants, Speaker’s Rebuke For Rahul Gandhi

The Lok Sabha witnessed unprecedented scenes – screaming MPs, an apoplectic Speaker, and a Prime Minister shouting at the top of his voice – Tuesday afternoon as the government and the opposition went head-to-head in an ugly battle, with PM Modi launching jibe after jibe at the Congress and his critics keeping up an incessant din of sloganeering and rhythmic chanting.

Mr Modi – standing up to speak on the Motion of Thanks following President Droupadi Murmu’s joint address last week – faced a furious wall of noise from the moment he began, with the opposition heckling and screaming at the Prime Minister on a range of issues – from his silence over the violent ethnic conflict in Manipur (underlined by a forceful midnight speech by Bimol Akoijam, the Congress’ Inner Manipur PM) to leaked question papers for the NEET-UG medical course tests.

Such was the opposition’s relentless sloganeering that Speaker Om Birla appeared to lose his temper on more than one occasion as he tried, without any success, to control the shrieking opposition.

At one point in Mr Modi’s speech the opposition simply screamed for seconds… to drown out the Prime Minister’s words. The PM, waiting for a break in the shouting, stood and chuckled.

Mr Birla’s “no, no… this is not correct… you are bringing dishonor on your party” went unheeded.

Instead, an opposition rejuvenated by the result of the 2024 Lok Sabha election – in which the Congress-led INDIA bloc stymied the BJP’s grand ‘abki baar, 400 paar’ plan – kept up an incessant din.

The Prime Minister’s speech today followed a fiery speech by Congress MP Rahul Gandhi Monday, in which he lashed out at Mr Modi, his BJP, and the ruling party’s ideological mentor, the RSS.

During Mr Gandhi’s speech – parts of which have been expunged from the record – the Prime Minister twice stood up to intervene; the second time he was met by jeers from the opposition.

Mr Modi began his speech with a reference to President Murmu (among the many holes the BJP sought to pick in Mr Gandhi’s speech yesterday was that he did not mention the President) and also got in an early swipe at the Congress MP, who was elected the Lok Sabha’s Leader of the Opposition.

“President mentioned our (the BJP’s) vision for a ‘Viksit Bharat’ in her speech. She gave a direction to the country and I want to express my gratitude. Many expressed this opinion, especially first-time MPs – those who followed the rules and their conduct was (that) of experienced MPs,” he declared.

The swipe at Mr Gandhi – who was fiercely criticised by union ministers Kiren Rijiju and Ashwini Vaishnaw for “improper conduct” while delivering his speech – was unmistakable.

As the opposition’s sloganeering ramped up, the Prime Minister continued.

“I can understand the pain of some people… even after spreading lies they tasted defeat. People of India have given us the opportunity to work for the third time… have given us a mandate,” he said, referring to the result of the election, in which the BJP, expecting to win over 370 seats on its own, had to be content with just 240 after a sterling fightback from the INDIA opposition bloc.

The BJP and Mr Modi returned for a third term thanks to the 53 seats of its National Democratic Alliance members; the saffron party did not need NDA seats in its first two terms.

Continuing to lash out at the opposition – as chanting about Manipur became louder and louder – the Prime Minister also said, “This country has seen politics of appeasement (but) we did politics of satisfaction and not appeasement. ‘Justice to all, appeasement to none’ is our mantra.”

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