IN normal circumstances, the leader of the ruling party gets one last chance in the penultimate year’s Independence Day speech on August 15 to proclaim the achievements of the Government and lay the ground for the ensuing elections the following year. This time, Prime Minister Narendra Modi got a chance to do this twice, in a span of six days. One on August 10 when he gave a befitting reply to the self-goal that the Opposition scored against itself by moving a no-confidence motion against his Government in the recently concluded monsoon session of Parliament and the other when he gave a thumping speech on August 15 on the 77th Independence Day.
With resounding defeat of the noconfidence motion a foregone conclusion, the Opposition did itself a great disservice by moving it in Parliament on the issue of Manipur violence. If anything, its walkout from Parliament at the end of the debate which started on August 8, and its abstainment from voting on the motion brought to light its own lack of purpose and sincerity.
A survey done by C-Voter on the debate shows that the motion did more harm to the Opposition than to the Government. Most people in the survey were of the opinion that PM Modi’s speech was most effective during the discussions. According to the survey, 29.3 per cent people said only the NDA had benefited from the motion.
Only 14.8 per cent believed it benefited the Opposition. Forty three per cent could not respond to this. To the question, “Whose speech in Parliament on the motion of no-confidence was the most effective”, 46 per cent voters said PM Modi. Less than half of this, only 22 per cent people, found Rahul Gandhi’s speech more powerful while Home Minister Amit Shah’s speech was liked by 14 per cent people. Speeches by other leaders got 9 pc votes.
In his reply to the motion, PM Modi covered everything from the past to the present and future, in probably his longest speech ever at over two and a quarter hours. Along with counting the mistakes from AO Hume’s Congress to the Nehru-Indira era, PM Modi also brought in the 2024 elections and the political future of his Government until 2028 in his speech.
He said his Government was working in such a way that the people will be proud for the next 1,000 years. The PM also referred to socialist leader of the seventies, Ram Manohar Lohia’s allegations of neglect of the Northeast by the then Congress Government and attacked the party over its use of Air Force in Mizoram on March 5, 1966, when Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister. Thus, the PM turned the tables on the Opposition – they came to attack the Government on the Manipur issue but were proved as the ones who had sowed the seeds of destruction in the entire Northeast.
The Prime Minister also targeted the Congress over its inability to win elections in many states for the past several terms and said that the people had given the slogan ‘Congress – no confidence’. Indeed a confident Prime Minister ended up exposing the no confidence of the Opposition in its own relevance and failure to present a unified front.