"I don't think we should underestimate Modi", said a Congress leader who is convinced the prime minister will make dramatic moves to change the public mood in the BJP's favour in time for the election.
As the Opposition continued to chant "jumlebaazi bandh karo (stop the empty rhetoric)", Modi issued a sharp retort saying, "Our work speaks for ourselves". "For decades, one party devoted all their energies to serving one family". The interests of the nation were looked over just for the interests of one family... The previous government is fully responsible.
"This is the same party that divided India".
"You were speaking about Ayushman Bharat and gave the example of USA and Britain, there is a vast difference between them and our society", said the Prime Minister.
Pointing out that four ex-CMs are now languishing in jail, Modi said the fight against corruption, "which is an article of faith for me", shall intensify and added, "I know many Congress people don't sleep properly due to their fear".
It is amidst these first green shoots in what had been an arid political landscape for the Congress that its recently elected party president Rahul Gandhi promised to create a "Shining New Congress" within six months. "After our government came to power, we have not given a single loan which turned into a NPA". The total advance made by banks rose from '18 lakh crore to '52 lakh crore.
PM Modi also said Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, India's first home minister, had got more votes to become prime minister, a post that went to Jawaharlal Nehru.
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The Prime Minister said the tax relief given to medium, small and micro enterprises in the budget would also benefit the middle class.
Nearly at the onset after listing a few achievements of the government--that interspersed his speech off an on-- PM Modi said that it was unfortunate that even after 70 years of Independence the people had to suffer for the "sins" of the Congress every single day. Every time, his speech is about the Congress, Congress leaders and Narendra Modi.
Launching an all-out attack on the BJP and the Modi government, Sonia Gandhi today said she would work with like-minded political parties to ensure its defeat in the next general elections. The whole country knows about it, Gandhi said.
"Partition was a result of Congress' wrong policies".
The Ayushman Bharat scheme is apparently aimed at strengthening primary healthcare and offer financial protection from the huge expenditure often faced once a family member falls sick and needs long-term healthcare. Is this the India the Congress wants?
"I also want India of Gandhi's dream".
He further said, "I also request the opposition parties to form a task force within their parties to give suggestions", adding "After all, we are working for the nation and the poor".