The debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday witnessed many attacks and counterattacks from the ruling and opposition members, ranging from a Trinamool Congress leader claiming that Facebook’s Delhi office has “virtually become an extended BJP IT cell”, a Shiv Sena member saying that a Ram Temple would be built in Ayodhya under Narendra Modi’s leadership, and a Congress leader questioning the sincerity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reach out to Muslims.
Almost all opposition members attacked the government, accusing it of denigrating institutions and destroying federalism. Many also raised the issue of lynching of a Muslim youth in Jharkhand.
BJP’s Vinay Sahasrabuddhe accused the Congress of deriding the BJP’s New India slogan, and asked whether it wants the old India of nepotism, middlemen, Sikhs being massacred and Kashmiri Pandits forced to leave the Valley.
Hitting back, Congress’s Digvijaya Singh questioned Modi’s ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas’ slogan. “The individual who was not ready to apologise for the riots which claimed the lives of 2,500 people, the individual who was not ready to wear a topi (skullcap), the individual who as Gujarat CM was not ready to distribute the Central government’s scholarship scheme for Muslim students… the individual who as prime minister did not attend the President’s iftaar dinner, is talking about winning the confidence of minorities in his first speech… I congratulate him… is this transformation real or is it a jumla?” Singh said.
Trinamool Congress’s Derek O’Brien questioned the BJP’s governance record and schemes, contrasting them with those of his party’s government in West Bengal. He also criticised Facebook. “Eighty per cent of ads on Google, Youtube and Facebook are pro-BJP ads… Facebook senior management in India are de facto campaign managers of the BJP… Facebook censored anti-BJP news and put other parties in jeopardy. The Facebook algorithm censors anti-BJP content…” he claimed. “In return Facebook got a lot of benefits.”
Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut demanded that a Ram Temple be constructed at Ayodhya at the earliest.