Prime Minister Narendra Modi has joined the issue with Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi. In what seems to be a response to the oft-repeated jibe by the young Congress leader, PM Modi said “Suit boot is definitely more acceptable than suitcase”.
Rahul Gandhi, who attracted lot of criticisms and questions over his 56-days ‘leave of absence’, has certainly returned resurgent and appears more keen to take the BJP-led NDA government, both inside and outside the Parliament.
It was in his first speech after his return that Gandhi began referring to the Modi-led government as ‘suit-boot ki sarkaar’. The jibe draws special meaning for the Congress party has been accusing the government policies as ‘anti-farmer and anti-poor’. The ordinance on land acquisition has come for a specific criticism by the Congress and host of other opposition parties like TMC, Left front, SP, JD(U) and others.
And speaking on the contentious Land Acquisition Bill, the Prime Minister told a news agency that it is not “a matter of life or death for me” and that he was “prepared to accept any suggestions”.
His remarks on the land ordinance assumes significance for his cabinet re-issued the ordinance third time on Saturday.
“After ruling for 60 years, the Congress has suddenly remembered the poor. People of this country have suffered and remained poor due to short-sighted policies of the Congress,” he told in an interview to a news agency.
The PM also attacked the Congress over the infamous ‘scams’ which took place under the nose of previous Congress run-UPA government.
“Did the coal and spectrum scandals or the CWG fiasco benefit the poor? Everyone knows who were the beneficiaries…some chosen industrialists and contractors,” PM Narendra Modi added.
However, defending his government’s stand on the Ordinance on land bill he said, “opposition to the Land Bill is totally unjustified and unfortunate… the government has not made any changes for private industry”.
“We have made changes only in response to demands of the states. The benefits of these changes will also accrue to the rural poor in terms of irrigation, housing, electrification, as well as better physical and social infrastructure,” he said.
The Prime Minister also broke his silence on another contentious issues of ‘One-Rank, One-Pension’ (OROP) for the ex-servicemen. In fact, a function held by the Defence Minister was boycotted by the two war-veterans for they were upset with the government over the non-implementation of OROP.
“We are committed to OROP, but we are in consultation with defence personnel regarding the definition of OROP,” he told the news agency.