PM says corruption being eliminated, Congress promptly hits back

NEW DELHI(PTI): Congress on Sunday latched on to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks in Malaysia on the issue of corruption to rake up the Lalit Modi controversy over which it is seeking resignations of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.

Narendra Modi

Addressing the Indian diaspora on the second day of his three-day visit to Malaysia, Modi said, “We are eliminating corruption at all levels and making governance driven by policy and systems not discretion of individuals.” In response, Congress tweeted, “He didn’t utter a word when Smt Swaraj & Smt Raje helped a fugitive. #ModiInMalaysia talks about Corruption! Ironic!” The party also used a quote of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to take a jibe at the Prime Minister for his assertion that since his government entered office 18 months ago, no region has seen greater engagement from India than Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean Region.

“The person who always talks about his virtues, is in reality, has less of them,” the party said in Hindi quoting Nehru. Senior Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that such comments not only insult the office of the Prime Minister but also the grandeur of the country and asserted that India, with all its fault and shortcomings, has evolved from 1947 to 2015 and every person has contributed to that. “Whenever he (Modi) speaks, he underlines the assumption that India was born and grew up from adolescence to youth to old age and achieved everything in 18 months. Neither any good thing existed prior to May 2014 nor are Indian achievements prior to May 2004 relevant to talk about.

“It is regrettable that a person of the stature of Prime Minister can bring in such pettiness in every comment, even on foreign soil. It seems to have become DNA of the NDA. It seems to have become the inbuilt thinking process of the NDA,” he told reporters. “We will only pray with folded hands to the Prime Minister that you not only insult the office of the Prime Minster by saying such things, you also insult the grandeur of India.

India with all its fault and with all its shortcomings has evolved from 1947 to 2015 and each one of has contributed. We all are proud of it,” Singhvi said. Congress also utilised a column of former Finance Minister P Chidambaram to “demolish” government’s claims on economy. “Economy is not where @narendramodi claims it is. Former FinMin @PChidambaram_IN demolishes Govt’s claims,” it said on the microblogging site.

“The RBI statistics show Rs Vs Dollar was 54.41 in 2012-13. This year’s average is Rs 64.54,” it said. “India is today the fastest growing major economy in the world…We are running at 7.5 per cent per year, but will grow even faster in the coming years,” Modi said while addressing the Indian diaspora on the second day of his three-day visit to Malaysia.

The AICC had made it clear last week that it had not given up on its demand for the resignation of Swaraj and Raje in the Lalit Modi controversy and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan in the Vyapam scam. While the Winter Session of Parliament is set to begin on November 26, the Monsoon session had been a virtual washout over the Congress demand.