Setting the stage for BJP-Congress confrontation even in foreign soil, Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma on Friday said the Congress party would henceforth send a senior leader to countries being visited by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to counter him then and there.
“We will send a senior party leader to all countries henceforth. He (She) will hold a parallel conference to rebut the Prime Minister’s allegations against the current opposition,” Sharma told The Indian Express.
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Prime Minister Modi has visited about 16 countries since he took charge in May 2014. He recently left on a three-nation tour to France, Germany and Canada.
Prime Minister Modi had attacked the previous UPA government on Thursday at a gathering of Indians in Toronto. He promised to clean up the “mess left behind” and change India’s image from one of “scams” to that of a “skilled” nation. “Jinko gandagi karni thi, woh kar ke chale gaye. Lekin hum safai karenge (Those who wanted to create a mess have done it and left. But we will clean up),” he had said.
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Taking objection to the Prime Minister’s attack on the Congress in foreign soil, Sharma said, “The Prime Minister is the country’s representative abroad. Maligning the previous government and his predecessor in foreign soil is not just against convention and in bad taste, but it also lowers the dignity of the PM,” he said.
In an interview to The Indian Express, Sharma also said it was only because of a mature and responsible Opposition that the present government could pass so many Bills in Parliament. “The Congress voted with the government on the Insurance (Amendment) Bill,” he pointed out. However, when the BJP was in opposition, its leaders in the two houses Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj justified disruption as a legitimate action in a parliamentary democracy.
On Thursday, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh said on Twitter, “When a head of state visits abroad, he represents the whole nation. Modi’s speech is divisive, defamatory, malicious and not based on facts.” Modi had launched an attack on the UPA in Paris too, where he said the previous government had allocated coal blocks like one gives away a pen or a handkerchief, resulting in losses of lakhs of crores of rupees.