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Soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s attack on Congress, blaming Nehru for Partition and claiming Sardar Patel would have prevented it if he was made prime minister, his speech in Parliament on Wednesday, Feb 7, was put under the scanner with fact-checking by historians and, predictably, the Congress.

Noted historian S Irfan Habib quoted Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as saying in 1949 “It is good that we have agreed to partition in spite of all its evils; I have never repented my agreeing to partition.”

Refuting Modi’s notions about Sardar Patel and his position on Kashmir, another historian Srinath Raghavan tweeted: Patel was at one point willing to offer Kashmir to accede to Pakistan in return for Junagadh & Hyderabad’s accession to India.

Refrring to Modi’s speech, Congress leader and former law minister M Veerappa Moily remarked, “That is his history… he has a perverted history,”

Advising PM Modi to brush up on his history, he said, “The right thing is to read Discovery of India of (Jawaharlal) Nehru, Glimpses of (World) History and also, My Experiments of Truth. We prescribe those books to PM Modi.”

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said Prime Minister Modi might be a terrific orator “but this speech is a farrago of misrepresentations and half-truth”.

“I mean to claim credit for example lowering the price of solar panels when everyone knows that worldwide solar panel prices have gone down,” he said.

“To claim credit for lowering of prices for gas contract, of course gas prices have gone down. In fact at the pump, why we are paying more for petrol and diesel. Since UPA’s time, prices of petrol and diesel have gone up,” he added.

He further questioned the Prime Minister for comparing the last three years of UPA with the first three years of the NDA. “Why doesn’t he compare an average of 10 years of UPA with first three years average of NDA, he will find many different numbers,” said Tharoor.

“I think the problem was that the facts and figures given were simply not the kinds of figure that can stand up to detailed scrutiny. And I think the public would realise this,” he added.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi wondered why the Prime Minister hadn’t spoken a word about issues that touch the lives of people or the Rafale deal.

He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was free to criticise the Congress at a public meeting but in parliament, he needs to answer questions put to him. “Here, you have to answer to the country. You are not to make accusations here…,” he said, adding that PM Modi’s continued silence on the deal to buy Rafale fighter jets confirmed their suspicions that there was something wrong.

The Congress president kept the attacks coming on Twitter too, accusing PM Modi of misleading the country, trying to cover up his failures and skipping issues that concern the public. “When will the PM break his silence, and speak on the Rafale deal,” he said.

Rahul Gandhi said the country had hoped the PM would give a prime ministerial speech, but it was an election campaign speech. “We had raised the issue of (package to) Andhra Pradesh. Second, we had asked questions on the Rafale fighter jet deal. He spoke for more than an hour but nothing on the burning issues facing the country,” he said.

Rahul Gandhi said the PM didn’t allay concerns of the people on jobs. “He spoke about Bengal and Karnataka, but what about his promise of creating 20 million jobs a year. About farmers, he said they have been given bamboo and beekeeping. But the issue is of farmers getting a suitable price for their produce and about waiver of their loans,” Rahul Gandhi said.

The Congress chief said PM’s every speech is about Congress party and its leaders. “But the issues facing the country are different,” he said.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi said the PM spoke about corruption but didn’t reply to the Congress’s questions on the Rafale fighter jet deal. “We have asked whether the PM changed the terms of the deal when he went to Paris? Did he take the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS)? And, what is the cost of the fighter plane? This is a fighter jet that will become the spine of the Indian Air Force. The PM spoke of corruption, but he is protecting those who indulged in corruption,” Rahul Gandhi said.

“I think Modi ji has forgotten that he is the PM now, he should answer questions and not always accuse the opposition,” said the Congress president, adding that, “It was a totally political speech.”

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