A day after his government defeated a no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said more the number of Opposition parties uniting against him, the more the BJP would bloom. Asserting that he enjoyed the people's trust, Mr. Modi said he had to face the no-confidence motion because his “only fault” was of “fighting corruption” and “standing with full force against nepotism.” Using the Hindi metaphor of a lotus blooming out of sludge, Mr. Modi equated the “dal and dal” (Opposition parties) to the “dal-dal” (marshy area). “ Jitna zyada dal-dal hota hai, utna zyada kamal khilta hai. Yeh unka dal dal ka khel, kamal khilane ke liye naya avsar dene wala hai (More the marshy area, more the lotus will bloom. Their game of ‘dal dal’ will only provide an opportunity for the lotus to bloom),” Mr. Modi said. Mr. Modi was addressing a Kisan Samman rally for farmers in Shahjahanpur district of Uttar Pradesh. He has already addressed rallies in Azamgarh, Sant Kabir Nagar, Varanasi, Mirzapur and Noida over the past three weeks.
Criticising the Opposition for moving the no-confidence motion against him, Mr. Modi said they had disregarded the “mandate", of the people, who would no longer tolerate parties guided by the values of “arrogance and subjugation.” “ Chahe cycle ho ya hathi, arey kisi ko bhi banalo sathi, swarth ke iss swang ko desh bhali bhanti samajh chuka hai . (Be it the SP or the BSP, you can take along anybody you like. But the country has clearly understood this pretentious game of selfishness),” Mr. Modi said. Referring to the Opposition’s defeat in the trust vote against him, Mr. Modi said the Opposition’s “assessment” during the floor test was even poorer than their numbers. “ They cannot understand the mood of today’s India. They think they can continue to tamper with the system. But time has changed, so has the country and the mentality of the youth... Their formula to threaten democracy won’t work anytime soon,” Mr. Modi said. The prime minister listed the various steps taken by his government for the welfare of farmers and the poor, and said that while the BJP government was busy electrifying households and providing toilets to women, the Opposition parties were running around Parliament with a no-confidence motion. He also reiterated his charge that the Opposition was only focused on gaining the PM’s seat and made a reference to Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s surprise hugging act in the Lok Sabha after his speech on Friday. “Some parties say they have no confidence in Modi, they have no confidence in the government to whom you gave a historic mandate. Yesterday in Parliament, I repeatedly asked them to give the reason for [moving] the no-confidence [motion]. When they could not give a satisfactory reply, gale padh gaye (gave me an unwanted hug),” Mr. Modi said. The PM asked the crowd to assess his tenure. “I have served you for four years, you tell me, have I done any wrong act? Am I on the wrong track? Did I do anything for my own interest? Am I not doing it for the country, for the poor and farmers,” Mr. Modi asked. Mr. Modi said his real strength came from the 125 crore citizens of India and “Babasaheb Ambedkar’s constitution,” and going against the people’s wishes would only prove costly for the Opposition. The PM’s rally in Shahjahanpur was strategically placed as the district is located at the intersection of the sugarcane and paddy belts, and houses one of the largest foodgrain mandis in the state. Farmers from over half-a-dozen neighbouring districts attended the rally, in which Mr. Modi announced that his government had increased the minimum price sugar mills pay to cane farmers by Rs 20 to Rs 275 per quintal and also imposed 100% import duty on sugar, while allowing export of 20 lakh tonne of sugar. He also described as historic his government’s earlier decision to hike the minimum support price for 14 Kharif crops.