Damoh/Guna/Morena, Nov 8 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday lashed out at Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar over his crude remarks made in the assembly in context of population control and said the opposition INDIA bloc parties have not uttered a word on the "derogatory" utterances that showed “disrespect” for women.
Besides targeting Kumar, Modi slammed the Congress on a range of issues and vowed to continue the fight against corruption as he stepped up his campaigning for the November 17 assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh and addressed three rallies in one day.
A day after Kumar's remarks on the importance of women's education to control population growth caused an uproar and led to calls for his resignation from Bihar’s opposition parties, Modi launched a scathing attack on the former BJP ally.
“Yesterday, one of the INDI alliance’s big leaders who is holding the bloc’s flag high and playing different games to unseat the present government (at the Centre) used a language, which no one can even think of in a state assembly in the presence of mothers and sisters... he didn’t even feel ashamed of it,” said Modi without taking Kumar's name.
The JD(U) leader spearheaded the initiative of uniting opposition parties ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and played a key in formation of the INDIA bloc.
Kumar, while emphasising the importance of education among women to control the population, on Tuesday put forward a vivid description in the Bihar assembly of how an educated woman can restrain her husband during sexual intercourse. He apologised for the remarks on Wednesday.
The PM said he will do whatever he can to ensure the respect for women.
“Those having such a vision, how can they keep your honour and respect? How low will they stoop? What an unfortunate situation for the country. I will do whatever I can to ensure your honour and respect,” Modi said, addressing a rally in Guna.
The PM questioned the silence of INDIA bloc constituents on Kumar's comments.
“He (Kumar) does not have shame. Not only this, no leader of INDI alliance uttered a word despite such big disrespect for women,” he said.
Referring to his promise of continuing the free ration scheme to 80 crore people across the country beyond December, Modi said the Congress has announced that it would complain against him to the Election Commission on the issue.
“I will do everything to ensure the continuation of the free ration scheme to 80 crore people for the next five years. Let them (Congress) go to any court against me in the world,” he said.
The PM maintained that during 10 years of BJP rule at the Centre, Madhya Pradesh's budget increased from Rs 80,000 crore to Rs 3 lakh crore, but when the Congress was in power at the Centre, it would not allocate enough funds for the state.
Modi said Madhya Pradesh is buzzing with development and its economy has boomed due to double-engine governments after the BJP came to power at the Centre in 2014. He cautioned people against choosing the Congress saying it puts roadblocks for development.
Addressing another rally in Damoh town, Modi said he will continue to fight against corruption despite abuses being hurled at him.
People gave power to the Congress in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, but their chief ministers were found involved in "satta" (betting) and generating black money, he said.
Modi said after 2014, the country’s economy climbed to 5th position from 10th, leaving behind the UK, which colonised India for more than 200 years.
“In 2014, when we came to power, the country’s economy was at the 10th position. Gradually it moved to 9th, 8th, 7th and 6th but nobody was talking about it. When it reached the 5th position and left behind the UK, which ruled the nation for 200 years, everybody was surprised and started looking at India,” he said.
Modi warned that if the Congress comes back to power, the "85 per cent commission system" will work in states as once stated by a prime minister of that party, an apparent reference to former PM Rajiv Gandhi's remark that only 15 paise of every Re 1 released by the Centre reached the targeted beneficiary.
The BJP's star campaigner accused the Congress of indulging in corruption and asserted he will continue his anti-graft fight.
“Let them abuse me as much as they can, action against the corrupt will not stop. The Congress has looted the poor's money," he alleged.
Modi said Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge is controlled by remote.
"He can’t do much. When the remote works, he abuses Sanatan (dharma). Yesterday, when the remote was not working, he spoke about Pandavas and said there are five Pandavas in the BJP. We are proud that we are walking on the path laid by the Pandavas,” Modi said at the Damoh rally.
At a rally in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday, Kharge had referred to various government agencies, including the Enforcement Directorate, Central Bureau of Investigation, and Income Tax, along with PM Modi and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, as the "panch pandavas" (five Pandavas) of the BJP.
“The Congress’ habit of remote (control) is not going away. Earlier the PM used to be controlled by remote. Now the Congress president is being operated by remote,” Modi said, responding to Kharge’s remarks.
At the third rally in Morena in the Gwalior-Chambal division, Modi slammed the Congress for depriving ex-servicemen of one rank one pension (OROP) benefits and asserted his government implemented the long-pending scheme and paid Rs 70,000 crore to eligible defence veterans as he accused the opposition party of playing politics with the country's security when in power.
Referring to a 2006 statement of then-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, he said the Congress thinks Muslims have the first claim on the country's resources, while for his government the poor and deprived sections of society have the first right over them.
Terrorists who used to behead the country's jawans and take away their heads with them were now getting a befitting reply, said Modi.
Hitting out at the country's oldest political party, Modi alleged it played politics with national security during its long rule at the Centre.
“It is necessary for young people to know that the Congress played politics with the country's security. After Independence, among the scams that came to light, one was related to the Army,” he added.
“The Congress armed our defence forces with foreign weapons and made them dependant on such armaments. Soldiers deployed on the border were deprived of good facilities,” he alleged.
Madhya Pradesh, which has a 230-member assembly, will have a single phase polling and votes will be counted on December 3. PTI LAL MAS GK VT KRK NR RSY