New Delhi [India], June 25 (ANI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday unleashed a strong attack on Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi stating that the government had not put them behind bars since it was not the Emergency, while calling upon the opposition party to support the BJP government's efforts towards women empowerment in the form of Triple Talaq bill.
Outlining his government's commitment to make the country strong, prosperous and inclusive, Modi in his reply in the Lok Sabha to the motion of thanks to the President's Address to the joint sitting of the two houses of parliament, called upon all opposition parties to "rise above political boundaries to create a new and modern India".
He cited former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to emphasise on duties and not merely rights and said: "there was need of a paradigm shift of moving from rights to duties". He said it was also the duty of public representatives to create "public awareness" on the issue.
He invoked the Emergency of 1975 and said people had returned his government to power after testing it for the past five years.
Modi sought to distinguish the work culture of BJP from other parties, saying that the party stays away from negativity and believes in "drawing a bigger line" rather than erasing the line of its rivals.
Modi rejected Congress allegations that it was targeting Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.
Referring to speech of Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury who had accused Modi government of making allegations against top leaders to defame them and challenged it to arrest UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and President Rahul Gandhi, Modi said his government was being criticised for "not putting (people) to jail".
He said the country was not under Emergency and due process of law will be followed while continuing the attack on corruption.
"If you get bail, enjoy it," he said in a veiled reference to Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi.
Modi also accused the Congress leadership of not thinking "beyond family" and that only a few contributed to the national progress.
Challenging the Congress, he asked if it had praised late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee before 2004 or till 2014. "You did not praise Narasimha Rao, was the name of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh taken during the debate. They do not think outside the family," he said.
"There are some people who feel only a few names contributed to national progress. They only want to hear those few names and ignore the others. We think differently, we feel each and every citizen has worked for India's progress," he said.
"You are riding high. I congratulate you. You can't see properly from a height, people on the ground look small. We do not believe in being on a high. We believe in connecting with the grassroots," he said.
He also used the anniversary of the imposition of Emergency to attack the Congress, saying it had killed the soul of the nation.
Referring to the Triple Talaq Bill, he said Congress can make up for two "missed opportunities" on the issue of women empowerment in the past.
"They first missed in 1950s when Uniform Civil Code was being debated and then after 35 years when Shah Bano case came up. Now is the third chance when they can support Triple Talaq Bill.
"There are reports that a Congress minister had said at the time when Shah Bano case was being debated in the country that 'upliftment of Muslims is not the responsibility of the Congress, if they want to lie in gutter, let them be'," Modi said and added that the members of the main minority community need to made part of country's progress.
He targeted Congress over its criticism of `Make in India' initiative, and said that China exports arms while India was world's biggest arms importer.
Modi said the President's Address is the voice of how the government will fulfill the aspirations of common people.
"Where do we want to take the country, how we intend to take it, what will be the priorities, we have tried to present a roadmap. "The great men of the country saw a dream of a powerful, prosperous, inclusive India. The demand of time, the expectation of people is that we do this with determination and with greater speed. In today's global atmosphere, India should not lose this opportunity. We can remove all obstacles to meet the aspirations," he said.
Referring to BJP-led NDA returning to power with greater majority, he said there was "nothing more satisfying then to see your work being endorsed by people"Modi said the dream of ruling BJP-led NDA government is not to reach heights but to stay connected to grassroots.
"Together we can deal with any challenges that come our way. We can overcome challenges if we all come together.
Modi, who was cheered by BJP members through his speech, said he does not think about elections in terms of who won and who lost. "For me, what is satisfying is the opportunity to serve for 130 crore Indians and do work that has made a positive difference in the lives of our citizens.
Modi said his government will work towards creating jobs and give a boost to tourism.
He rejected Congress allegation that Prime Minister had negated contributions of previous governments and said he had praised work of all the prime ministers and parties in power in the past.
He said former President Pranab Mukherjee was honoured with Bharat Ratna during the NDA rule.
He urged people to observe 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and 70th anniversary of Independence in keeping with the ideals of freedom fighters.
He also urged people to take steps to conserve water. (ANI)