Panipat: Firing a fresh salvo over the unity bid by opposition parties, Union Minister Anurag Thakur said on Saturday that they should tell the country who will be their leader and claimed that their “thugbandhan” (an alliance of the corrupt) will “collapse like a pack of cards”.
Addressing a rally in Haryana’s Panipat, Thakur referred to the meeting of 15 opposition parties held in Patna on Friday.
“Though they came together, their hearts did not meet,” the Minister for Information and Broadcasting said and claimed that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who had hosted the meeting, was not accepted as convener by the parties.
Neither do they have a leader nor any policy and their intentions are also not clean, he alleged.
Thakur listed the achievements of the Narendra Modi government in the past nine years and expressed confidence that people will again elect a BJP government at the Centre in the next Lok Sabha polls.
He said the people have to decide whether to choose the “mandli (team) of corrupt people who are forging a ‘thugbandhan’ or an honest leader who served the country”.
“Yesterday’s meeting was nothing more than a joke. Ahead of the 2024 polls, this ‘natak mandli’ (drama company) has come together and ‘rang manch’ (stage) is being decorated and characters are being decided. A drama will play out. Everybody will speak of support.
“People will laugh at them as they did the last time and will make these corrupt people sit at home,” said Thakur.
Over 32 leaders of more than a dozen political parties attended the crucial Friday meeting, where opposition parties resolved to take on the BJP unitedly in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Thakur said the opposition parties did not answer as to who will be the leader of their alliance.
“Only a marriage proposal of Rahul Gandhi was passed (in the meeting) because Mummy ji is annoyed,” said Thakur as he took a swipe at the former Congress president.
He said Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi should tell who will be their leader.
Thakur asked the leaders of opposition parties to clear their stand on Article 370. “Will they bring Article 370 again? Will they end the GST? Can they give an honest government?” he asked.
He also referred to apparent fissures in the opposition unity, saying”(AAP chief Arvind) Kejriwal left them”.
He also slammed RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav over the fodder scam and hit out at TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, alleging that money was being demanded for giving jobs in West Bengal.
“Nitish Kumar has set new records. A Rs 1,750-crore bridge, which was being constructed for 10-12 years, collapsed twice,” said Thakur.
“This opposition unity will also collapse like a pack of cards,” he said.
Thakur said that the Modi government provided a corruption-free regime.
“There was a time when the media highlighted scams after every two months like AgustaWestland chopper scam, Commonwealth Games scam, 2G scam,” Thakur said, targeting the previous UPA dispensation.
“Sometimes, it was ‘jija ji ka ghotala’ in Haryana,” he alleged.
Thakur said the prestige of the country rose worldwide under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi.
Referring to the prime minister’s state visit to the US, Thakur said, “Today, only ‘Modi, Modi’ is echoing in the world.”
During the last nine years, Thakur said, the Modi government got constructed 3.50 crore houses and 12 crore toilets, opened bank accounts for each family, provided free foodgrains for 80 crore poor people and abrogated Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.
He also noted that India became the fifth largest economy overtaking the UK.
“What was not even thought of earlier was accomplished by the Modi government,” he said.
He also spoke about the work done to expand national highways, building “74 new airports, and opening 390 new universities” among other initiatives.
“What the Congress could not do in 70 years, the Modi government did it in nine years,” he said.