BJP alone will get at least 370 seats and NDA will cross the 400-seat mark: PM Modi

PM says the Congress is destined to sit in the Opposition for several more years

Updated - February 06, 2024 06:30 am IST

Published - February 05, 2024 07:54 pm IST - New Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi replies to the Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address in the Lok Sabha during the Interim Budget Session of Parliament, on February 05, 2024.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi replies to the Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address in the Lok Sabha during the Interim Budget Session of Parliament, on February 05, 2024. | Photo Credit: ANI

Exuding confidence that his government will return to power in the next Lok Sabha polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday declared that the BJP alone would get at least 370 seats and that the NDA would cross the 400-seat mark in the Lok Sabha, with the Congress destined to sit in the Opposition for several more years.

In his speech responding to the Motion of Thanks to the President for her address to both Houses of Parliament, Mr. Modi said that he could “gauge the mood of the nation”, and that country “will definitely give NDA more than 400 seats and the BJP at least 370 seats.” The figure of 370 was also a play on the abolition of Article 370 of the Constitution by the Modi government in 2019, which accorded a special status to the then State of Jammu and Kashmir. He also said that many of the problems the country and Jammu and Kashmir faced were due to the mishandling by former Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru.

It is considered that this is the last big speech by the Prime Minister in the 17th Lok Sabha, as general elections are soon to follow.

Parliament Budget Session | Follow LIVE updates on February 05, 2024

Attacks Opposition

In a speech that went on for more than an hour and a half, Mr. Modi mounted a spirited attack on the Opposition stating that he was convinced that they (opposition parties) have “lost the courage to contest elections and have resolved to stay on the opposition benches for a long time.” He said the third term of the government was not too far.

“At the most 100-125 days are remaining,” he said, referring to the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. “Abki baar,” (this time around) said Mr. Modi and BJP members joined him in unison to say “400 paar” (beyond 400). Referring to the Ram Temple consecration, he said that “not only has Bhagwan Ram returned to his home [Ayodhya]” but that the temple would continue to energise the country into the future.

Also read: PM Modi to visit almost every State in the run-up to Lok Sabha polls

He said that the Congress had for the last 10 years lost the opportunity to play the role of a constructive Opposition and blamed it solely for the “present condition” of the entire Opposition. “The Congress had a good opportunity to play a good Opposition but failed in that role. There are other young people in the Opposition, but they were not allowed to speak out of fear that it may overshadow a particular person, in an attempt to relaunch a failed product,” Mr. Modi said in an apparent reference to Congress MP Rahul Gandhi.

“For several decades you were sitting here [in the treasury benches], but now you have resolved to stay there [opposition benches] for several decades. The people will bless you and keep you there. You will achieve greater heights and will be soon seen in the public galleries [of the House],” he said.

The Prime Minister said the Congress leaders of the past did not display any confidence in the potential of Indians, quoting a speech by former Prime Minister Nehru at a celebration of Independence Day, saying that Indians were indolent and did not compare favourably with people in Europe, U.S.A., Russia and China. He also dug out quotes from a speech by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on the same lines. On inflation, Mr. Modi compared two speeches by former Prime Minister Nehru, 12 years apart that spoke of difficulties in controlling inflation and said his own government had kept a tight rein on inflation “despite two wars [Russia-Ukraine, and in Gaza] as well as a once in a century pandemic.”

Dynastic politics

Speaking on dynastic politics, Prime Minister Modi said that he termed parties dynastic where a particular family takes all the decisions, captures the leadership and the party serves that family, not families where more than one person is in politics, but as part of a party structure. “Rajnath Singh has no political party of his own,” he said. Mr. Singh’s son Pankaj Singh is an MLA in Uttar Pradesh.

“My first term was all about filling the gaping holes left by the UPA government, the second was about fulfilling avowed goals, like the abolition of Article 370 that the country had been waiting for, the third term will be one of big decisions, which will lay the foundation of India’s prosperity and security for the next 1,000 years,” Mr. Modi said. In his third term, he said the country would be the third largest economy in the world, a “Modi Guarantee” and expressed surprise that the Opposition, which had lauded its own achievement of getting the economy to the 11th spot (a dig at former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram) was now saying that “this will happen naturally, without a role of the government.”

Outlining the achievements of his government for the poor (25 crore people lifted out of poverty), women (passage of Bill granting reservation in the Lok Sabha, maternity leave), farmers (Kisan Samman Nidhi) and the youth (start-up ecosystem et al), the Prime Minister said his government had outpaced the speed set by the Congress as he had “full faith in the potential of the people of India” and that his work was blind to “vote-bank politics.”

“The Congress is also afflicted by a cancel culture, whatever has been achieved by the country, be it the new Parliament, make in India, Vande Bharat trains or Aatmanirbhar Bharat, have been cancelled and opposed. How long will you carry this hatred?” he said.

Mr. Modi emphasised that he would not stand down from his government’s prosecution of corruption. “Enforcement agencies are independent, and cases are judged by the judiciary,” he said, decrying the Opposition lauding those convicted of corruption as victims. “I can understand if it is someone under trial, but not for someone already convicted,” he said.

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