Congress president and leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge‘s attempt to mock the claim of enthusiastic supporters that the party’s tally in the Lok Sabha polls would cross the 400-mark had an unintended fallout as the saffron party interpreted it as an endorsement of the ‘abki baar 400 paar (this time, more than 400)’ chant popular with some sections.
Participating in the discussion on the motion of thanks to the President’s address, Kharge criticised govt’s handling of the economy and mentioned ‘abki baar 400 paar’. However, the sarcasm did not come across clearly, leading BJP members to thank him for endorsing the optimism of the saffron base.
With PM Modi and leader of the House Piyush Goyal bursting into laughter and BJP MPs thumping their desks, Kharge clarified matters. ‘This time, INDIA bloc will bring down your tally to 100,’ he said, adding, ‘Let them secure first position. Those present here clapping have come with the ‘kripa’ (blessing) of PM Modi.’
But that did not deter BJP from amplifying its interpretation of Kharge’s remark. Goyal interjected to say, ‘Kharge ji spoke the truth.’
The video of Kharge’s speech was shared by Goyal and senior BJP functionaries on social media. Some of them equated the Congress chief’s remarks with that of Mulayam Singh Yadav, who had predicted in Lok Sabha in 2019 that BJP was set to win even before poll dates had been announced.
Later, BJP’s official X handle shared the video and said, ‘PM Modi be like, ‘I need new haters, the old ones have become my fans’.’ Union minister Smriti Irani too shared the video and said, ‘Opposition also accepted, BJP will cross 400-mark in the third time.’
Kharge went on to say that the way things were in the country, Modi would one day say there was ‘no need for elections because of how popular he was’. He claimed that 411 MLAs had switched sides due to threats from agencies such as ED and the income tax department.
‘Everything was done in half-an-hour in Bihar, while in Jharkhand, where an opposition party is in power, it was done differently. Is this democracy? If you keep treating (the opposition) like this, people will lose faith in democracy,’ he said. ‘Those who don’t listen (to the ruling party) go to jail. This is your policy and you preach us (on democracy),’ he added.
Goyal slammed Kharge for defending Soren, saying it only proved that corruption was in the Congress’s DNA.
Initiating the discussion, BJP MP Kavita Patidar highlighted the steps taken by gov for empowerment and uplift of women at all levels. She spoke about flagship programmes such as Ujjwala, Swachh Bharat, PM Awas Yojna, Jan Dhan scheme and Mudra Yojna. She said the PM had taken several steps to empower OBCs.
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