Budget Session: Shashi Tharoor scoffs at President Murmu’s speech

The MP from Thiruvananthapuram said that his critique by no means was a disregard for the President’s position or a slight directed at Murmu as an individual.

| Updated: 31 January, 2023 5:07 pm IST

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor dubbed President Droupadi Murmu’s speech at the joint sitting of Parliament on Tuesday as an “election address”. The MP from Thiruvananthapuram said that his critique by no means was a disregard for the constitutional position or a slight directed at Murmu, the first tribal president of India, as an individual. “But she doesn’t contest elections. What we got was an election address. There is no question in anyone’s mind that what we saw was essentially the government’s message for the next year, trying to remind the nation of their so-called accomplishments,” said Tharoor speaking to The New Indian on Day 1 of the budget session.

Tharoor acknowledged that India will see steady growth this year but that cannot be attributed to the Government’s efforts. He said that were more fundamental questions the budget that will be presented on February 1 needs to address. “This year India will be the world’s fastest-growing. That’s not something that the government can expect us to celebrate by itself. We have to ask ourselves what they are doing about unemployment, what they are doing about price-rise, and whether are they making sure our youth will have a good future. I think the budget has to find some provisions to indicate that there is some concrete attention to the problems being faced by the people of our country,” he added.

He denied reports of Congress leaders boycotting President Murmu’s speech. He clarified that several leaders of the party could not attend the address because of bad weather in Srinagar, where Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra culminated. “I don’t know about any boycott. Certainly, many of my colleagues were stuck in Srinagar.  I couldn’t myself go because the flights were cancelled. Had I gone, I wouldn’t be back today. Sonia Gandhi was there, Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary was there. There were quite a few Congressmen there,” he said.

Earlier, in her address at a joint sitting of Parliament, President Murmu highlighted major achievements in the last nine years.

Addressing the parliament for the first time, President Murmu said a stable government at the Centre helped India in its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and the situations arising out of it.

“Today, through this session, I express my gratitude to the people of the country for electing a stable government for two consecutive terms. My decisive government has always kept the country’s interest paramount and shown the will-power to completely transform the policies and strategies when required,” she said.

Evoking surgical strikes against Pakistan, the government’s “firm crackdown on terrorism”, abrogation of Article 370, and criminalisation of triple talaq, President Murmu said that the Modi government has been recognised as a “decisive government”.

She also said that India gave a befitting response to every misadventure from Line of Control (LoC) to the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

“The stable and decisive government has enabled us to deal with the biggest calamity in 100 years and the situation that arose thereafter,” the President told parliamentarians.

“Wherever in the world, there is political instability, those countries are beset with severe crises today. But India is in a much better position than the rest of the world due to the decisions taken by my government in the national interest,” she added.

The President also said that Indians aim to build a nation, which not only embraces its glorious past but also encompasses every golden aspect of modernity by 2024.

Highlighting the Modi government’s guiding principle of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas, Sabka Prayas’, President Murmu said that Indian citizens have witnessed many positive changes for the first time.

“The biggest change is that today every Indian’s confidence is at its peak and the world’s outlook towards India has changed. India which once looked at others for solutions to most of its problems is today emerging as a provider of solutions for the issues faced by the world,” she underscored.

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