New Delhi: Trinamool Congress (TMC) lawmaker Mahua Moitra on Monday accused the BJP-led government of betraying the voters who had expressed their faith in it, saying that nobody wants to be part of “us versus them” debate.
Participating in the debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address in the Lok Sabha, Moitra made a strong attack on the government, saying it should not go beyond tenets of democracy or arrogate any extra-constitutional authority.
She accused the government of “betrayal of body politic” and said that the people were on the streets against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the National Population Register (NPR) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
“As a member of the opposition, I have an unquestionable right to tell you that as a government you lack humility,” Moitra said.
“Do not go beyond the tenets of democracy. Today, I rise to speak of betrayal and this betrayal is not just for myself. I was not part of the 31 per cent who voted for you in 2014 and 37 per cent who voted for you in 2019. This is not about people like me. I was sceptical about you, your ideology, your rhetoric right from the word go. In a sense, you owe me little. The truth is you have betrayed the very citizen who did vote for you,” she said.
Moitra said the BJP did not come to power only on votes of “the Hindu right” but because a very large section of ordinary people, the aspirational middle-of-the-road voters “cast aside whatever reservations they might have had about your past” and believed in the slogan of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’.
She asserted that voters were not hard-core believers but “they still believed you and they voted for you.”
“You have betrayed the young voters looking forward to their first job. You have betrayed small businessmen by your decision of demonetisation killing his market. You betrayed thousands of tribal people in Gujarat whose land you took to build a statue and to whom now you have given jobs as toilet cleaners,” she said.
Moitra accused the government of questioning the citizenship of the people who had voted for it.
“The middle-of-road voters who cannot recognise the India they are living in, cannot recognise the images they see on TV screens. They cannot identify the hate-filled venomous invective that they see members of the ruling party spew out publicly,” Moitra alleged.
She also mentioned the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp and said all holocaust memorials serve one reminder that it could happen again.
“NPR, NRC, and CAA are all tools in Machevillian design to first mark out and then disenfranchise and finally annihilate. This is your biggest betrayal of those who voted for you. Nobody wants to be part of this ‘us versus them’ debate. My friends who voted for you in 2014 are horrified by what is happening in their name under your watch,” she said.
The TMC MP accused the BJP of demonising dissent and forgetting dharma.
Moitra also objected to BJP choosing its MP Parvesh Sahib Singh as its first speaker in the debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address, saying that he had been barred from campaigning for 96 hours by the poll panel.
“You have executive authority to do so but your government depends on higher authority — moral authority. You speak of Ram and Yudhishtar and you speak of Dharmputras. You speak of dharma. You build false narratives where our ‘dadis’ (grandmothers) become your terrorists,” she said.
Moitra accused Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of being fearful of putting out the real GDP growth target.
“The Finance Minister, on the floor of the House, says that nominal GDP target is 10 per cent. In the month of December, the Consumer Price Index was at 6.70 per cent. Does that mean that the real GDP growth rate today is 3.30 per cent? That is what the government is saying. Remember, when there is no integrity in statistics, little else remains,” she said.
The TMC member said that per capita consumption, according to the National Sample Survey, dropped in real terms between 2011-12 and 2017-18.
“If we are really in a crisis, the government is doing this country a huge disservice by trying to suppress data and denying the correctness of the data that exists,” Moitra added.