Modi’s Farewell Speech– Just Another Jab?

On February 07, 2019 Prime Minister Modi gave his last speech in the Parliament. Understandably, last speeches are important as they give a summary of what has actually occurred over the course of five years– they are an opportunity for the leading party to showcase where it stands and how much of what they promised was indeed accomplished by the party members.

During his speech, PM Modi chose to compare and contrast his own accomplishments with that of the Congress party. He presented to his audience the statistics of successful schemes, policies, and programmes implemented by the BJP-led government during its regime. Of course, while there is nothing wrong in doing that, the sincerity and impact of the speech was polluted by the fact that many of those statistics were flawed. The Quint did an article on fact-checking some of the claims made in the entire speech and they did find numerous inconsistencies.

The takeaway from most of these claims was that there lay a gray area everywhere. Thus, even his enthusiastic claims were not enough to make sure whether the schemes he had planned actually worked or not. For example, he made a statement on gas connections, where he said, “In 55 years, there was a total of 12 crore LPG connections; in my 55 months, I have introduced fresh 13 crore connections, of which six crore are from the Ujjwala yojana.” [sic] Although an exponential number of people have been getting gas connections– according to the PPAC report from 1.1.2018, as on 1 April 2014, there were 16.63 crore registered domestic LPG customers– he did not speak about the fact that these connections have to be renewed and LPG containers also have to be refilled. Thus, the amount that he put up was half-baked and did not necessarily give a true idea of the situation.

In yet another claim, he mentioned that they have proposed the set up of a Fisheries Ministry in this year’s budget. Not one to mince words, he made a mistake here as although the budget did mention fisheries, this was in relation to setting up a department and not a ministry; though small slip-ups like these may be expected from other ministers, they seem more jarring when coming from the Prime Minister himself. Ready to tear the opposition apart, he further blatantly mentioned how the Congress had not fulfilled its promise of extending broadband connectivity to every village. He then went on to state that currently 1,16,000 villages in India have broadband connectivity. In a move to belittle the Congress, he completely disregarded the groundwork that it did as part of the Bharat Broadband Network Limited.

These were just a few of many claims and statements that he threw around, without any concern for whether or not what he said was completely true. As mentioned earlier, while it is understandable for him to talk about such statistics to show how his government has fared in last the five years, it should also be taken into consideration that he is after all, accountable and responsible for all the data that he presents. The problem with most of the claims was that they were clean on paper and depicted a state of extreme growth and development, but when it comes to the real life scenario, there is a great disparity and they fail to hold up well.

The way he targeted the Congress about how they had not actually delivered promises made during their tenure was uncalled, and unnecessary. Accountability for one’s shortcomings is necessary, but badmouthing others to make oneself look better is childish and does not prove one’s competency in any sense. Instead of making his last speech a cumulative report of what his government has achieved and the mistakes they made, a large chunk was just dedicated to taking jabs at Congress’ rule. He even quoted Mahatma Gandhi out of context, to justify how India should be made free of Congress. This turns the entire political landscape of the country into nothing more than a playground for petty fights.

Picture Courtesy- narendramodi.global

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