Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi evaded a question on how he rated Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s second Independence Day speech, saying this was not the day for politics.
“Today is not the day for politics. I will speak tomorrow,” Rahul said shortly after Modi delivered a 90-minute address to the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort in Old Delhi. He, however, did greet India on the occasion. “I wish a happy Independence Day to everybody,” the 45-year-old leader said.
Rahul’s partymen, however, were not so discreet and had a series of grouses against Modi’s speech. “I have been going to the Red Fort for 35 years. It is the first time a PM has not said a word on the foreign policy,” Congress Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said, referring to Modi’s refusal to address Pakistan in his speech. “All his talks are hollow and he is only selling dreams to the country,” another Congress leader Anand Sharma said.
Azad’s colleague, Salman Khurshid, was more scathing. “The Prime Minister is willing to talk to Pakistan even after so many betrayals by that country,” he said on the bilateral talks between New Delhi and Islamabad likely to be held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York next month. The National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan are also likely to talk later this month in New Delhi.
On the One-Rank, One-Pension policy, over which Modi in-principle agreed but failed in making a formal announcement, Congress leader Manish Tewari said, “The OROP row represents perhaps the greatest betrayal of this government. The Prime Minister tried to spin the issue.”
Former Defence Minister AK Antony also attacked Modi on OROP. “We had already accepted the OROP during the UPA government. Why is the Prime Minister repeating that now? Implement it.”