Attributing the Congress defeat in the Lok Sabha to scams, inflation and disillusionment of the youth, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said here on Wednesday it was not marketable as a “product.”
She was making an intervention during a discussion on the motion of thanks to the Presidential Address.
“Let us be clear that the product should be good…..If it is not, then marketing will make no impact. Our product was liked by the people because of its quality,” Swaraj said in the Lok Sabha. She was responding to the Congress floor leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who had said yesterday that the BJP victory was due to its self-marketing and propaganda.
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Reiterating the NDA commitment to empowerment of women, she expressed the hope that the Women’s Reservation Bill will be adopted by the 16th Lok Sabha.
She said India had regained its rightful place with the ascendance of the new government. “There is a race among world leaders to come to India and also invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi to their countries.” “They want to participate in our growth story and we also want to take advantage of it,” she added. She said “the massive victory has also brought big responsibility and we accept the verdict with humility.”
SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav contended that the BJP had made unrealistic promises, which would be “very difficult to fulfill.”
He wanted the Government to explain how would it provide pucca houses to people within 10 years. Cautioning the Government against getting arrogant, he said, “We have seen such victories and have fought those governments too – whether of Indira Gandhi or Rajiv Gandhi.”
Mulayam said, “You have even promised to take back Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and the territory occupied by China…..Tell us by when will you do this.”
Congress deputy leader Amarinder Singh described the address as “an old wine in a new bottle” and claimed that the BJP-led Government had rehashed the programmes conceived and launched by the UPA regime earlier. He said the Government should not underestimate the Congress because of its tally of 44, pointing out that history was replete with examples of smaller armies overcoming bigger ones.
A single legion of Julius Caesar defeated the Gauls, he added. Reminding Swaraj that she had sought to know the time-line for the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill earlier, he asked if the Government could give a definite date now.
Others who spoke included Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijijju, Sugata Bose (Trinamool Congress), Neiphu Rio (NPF), Prem Singh Chandumajra (Akali Dal), Badruddin Ajmal (AIUDF), P Venugopal (AIADMK), Jayadev Galla (TDP), Arvind Sawant (Shiv Sena) and Arjun Meghwal (BJP).