Comrade Sitaram Yechury’s speech on the motion of thanks to the President’s address in Parliament.


सर, में एक दुविधा में हूँ. हमारे लीडर ऑफ़ द हाउस ने जिस तरह का जवाब लीडर ऑफ़ ओपोजिशन श्री गुलाम नबी आज़ाद को दिया है और बाकी सवाल उठाये, अब उसका जवाब दूँ, तो असली मुद्दे पीछे रह जायेंगे और उसका बिना जवाब दिए हम छु भी नहीं रह सकते हैं.


I am in a fix. The kind of replies that the Leader of the House has given to the Leader of the Opposition and raised other questions, if I reply to them, then the real issues will get left behind but I cannot let it go unanswered as well. Let us take the Land Acquisition ill. There are many points that the Leader of the House  made today, which should have been debated properly and considered. But the Parliamentary Standing Committee which considered this Bill in detail examined it and the Chairperson of that Committee is Speaker of the other House today. Let me read out some of the last points that were made by the Sumitra Mahajan-chaired Committee. The Bill defines ‘infrastructure projects’ to include projects related to the generation of electricity, tele-communication services, roads, highways, water supply and other projects that may be notified by the Government. The Committee feels that the Bill gives a wide discretion to the Government in notifying any infrastructure project and this clause should be deleted.”  This is the Committee headed by them. We moved amendments. They supported us then. And this is the charge, that I have always been making standing from here- whether the Leader of the House was the Leader of the Opposition then and when the Leader of the Opposition today was part of the Government then, we standing from here have always opposed those things which we considered to be anti-people, anti-economy and anti-country and we will continue to do that.


The Bill exempted 16 existing legislations that provide for land acquisition. At that time, it was 16, but now it has been reduced to 13. The Committee recommended that no Central Act should be exempted from the provisions of this Bill and necessary amendments should be brought in those Acts to bring them on par with this Bill. The Committee recommended no exemptions.


Now, you are extending the list of exemptions. And those that you have added in the list of exemptions are private educational institutions and private hospitals. I can go on. All these recommendations are there on the website. What the honorable Leader of the House today says has been negated by a Committee headed by the Speaker of the other House today, who then and today as a Member of the ruling BJP was the one who

recommended all this. Now the net result of this fight between them, is that the country is losing.


There are many issues that have been raised, which require to be taken up seriously. He said, “No scams in the first nine months.” In the first five years of the UPA-I Government, there were no scams. I agree with the honorable minister (Piyush Goyal)  that these scams were cooking under UPA-I. They got exposed under UPA-II. Now, what is already cooking in these nine months under your Government, we will know later. So, do not say that in nine months, you are clean. Do not make such points where you spoke

of the double duck, cricketing records. But remember, for one of the biggest cricketing records which Sachin made, he will remain on the record book; others may be broken. That one record for which he will remain is the maximum number of times you get out in

your nineties, without scoring a century.

The issue is, he has spoken of the Assembly elections and the victories they had, except in Delhi. Now, Sir, please examine them properly. The subject here is not

‘tu tu main main or who won who lost.’ Examine the victories that you had. And why? You floated on the anti-incumbency wave of a non-BJP Government there and with a divided Opposition.


Nowhere have you formed a government, including at the centre with a majority vote. You are in government today with 30 per cent of the votes of those who actually went to poll. It is not a majority government. Sixty nine per cent voted against you. But it is

because of the situation where, riding on anti-incumbency, you won those elections; and here the anti-incumbency was against the central government in Delhi. Then, very proudly you were saying – of course, humiliating us in the Opposition — that the whole

Opposition can travel in a bus. Somebody quipped in Delhi, ‘the whole Opposition of the BJP can now travel in an auto rickshaw.’ You are reduced to three. So, please do not discount the democratic verdict of the people. Why things have happened, please analyse them properly. It is only for the good of the country.


It is not ‘tu tu main main, who wins who loses. It is for the good of the country. So, please understand that. It was either incumbency or a divided Opposition. These were the two factors. When they don’t happen, there is no victory, and not only is there ‘no victory’, but there is a big landslide loss also.


On talking about the dispute on Jammu and Kashmir, the Leader of the House has correctly said that history will decide it. Fine. Let history decide who is right, who is wrong. I am talking of the history that is being made today. And what is the history that is

being made? Every year we stand up to speak on the Motion of Thanks to the honorable President of India. This annual exercise is supposed to be a balance sheet of what the government has done and what it will do for the next year. Now we have a peculiar

situation. I don’t know whether you – with your long experience – had such a situation where, instead of a balance sheet, what the Government wants to do keeps changing every year. What they promised in the last President’s Address or what they will do, there

is no mention of those things here. The honorable Leader of the Opposition has mentioned all of them. He has mentioned all the names of the schemes. They have come with new names. Our critique of them was that everything was concentrated on the

Nehru-Gandhi family. Here you will have Shyama Prasad Mukherjees and Deen Dayal Upadhyays and the Schemes in their names. They (Congress led UPA) had their set-up of names for having the schemes and they (BJP led NDA) have their set of names. But the point is, what is the net result for the people of the country? If you follow the Left, you will be left behind. That is what the Honorable Leader of the House said. He

is the one who said this while quoting Margaret Thatcher — in fact not quoting but actually taking over what she said, ‘It is not the business of the Government to be in business.’ Then, why are you increasing the list of exemptions. It is not your

business to be in business. So, let business take care of that.


Why are you doing all this for business? If  it is not the business of the government to be in business, then why are you doing that? That is where you are promoting their interest. It is very clear. There is exemption for private educational institutions and exemption for private hospitals. Old wine in new bottles and new wine in old bottles. That does not really help the people of our country. What is the history that is being currently made? That is what I wish to draw your attention to and the House’s attention to, that there is something very drastically wrong in the manner in which this Government has begun embarking on this course of taking up the people’s agenda. The first 25 paragraphs of the President’s Address talk about the cultural heritage of India. Now, who are the people you have mentioned? It is very good that you have mentioned Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, but there is no mention of the rich historical legacy that we have inherited, the legacy that comes down from Gautam Buddha, Mahavir Jain, from the Upanishads and from all the places and shrines that you all go to.


This Government has one agenda for public consumption and one real agenda on which it is actually working. The agenda for public consumption — what it is doing to the state of the people as far as the economy is concerned — I will come to that in the later half of my speech. But what is the real agenda that is being pursued, Sir? You had the Love Jihads and Ghar Waapsis and all those statements that were made everywhere. They continue to be made, on the glory of the Hindu civilization and that the Hindus alone were the inheritors of this legacy in our country, when nothing can be farther away from the truth.  I have said this before in this House and I tell you even today, that if you go by that myopic vision, India, as we know of  it, cannot remain. And what were we asking the Prime Minister last time here? We had asked whether he would take action against Members of Parliament and Ministers who are making comments that are inflaming communal passions, which is against the Constitution and against our IPC. No assurance was given.


The honorable Prime Minister went to some function of a Christian group and then  preached tolerance. That is very good, but what we promised to our people in the Constitution of India is not only tolerance but we promised equality too. There is not even a mention of the words that people belonging to other non-Hindu religions will be treated as equal. Now, that is the real agenda that is being pursued and that is not in the interest of the future of our country, my country, and our glory. So, all that is being done today is a negation of that syncretic civilization that evolved and continues to evolve on these lines.


Now, this is a very serious issue that is coming up before us, like the controversy over Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, the controversy over Mother Teresa – a Nobel laureate and a Bharat Ratna. These controversies betray a certain lack of commitment to democracy. I am sorry to say this, but it is an unfortunate situation where the Central Government of the day encourages or protects those who are violating our constitutional provisions with impunity. You have these people going around today, who keep talking of only Hindus and Hindus as the only inheritors of this civilization. If you want, I can read out the speeches of the Chief of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh when he spoke about Mother Teresa. He said, “It is good to work for a cause with selfless intentions. But Mother Teresa’s work had ulterior motive which was to covert the person who is being served to Christianity.” Then he says on another occasion, “Hindustan is a Hindu Rashtra which is a fact; we are going ahead with this idea. All Hindus have to be organized to make this nation great.” Please organize Hindus if you want. I am also a Hindu who is born a Hindu

but turned into being a nastik and a Communist. Who is a Hindu according to you? Please show some, at least, what the Prime Minister preaches to all the countrymen, tolerance. Please show some tolerance. If not granting equality, show some tolerance. In the same vein, the RSS chief continues saying, “This is a favourable time for the Sangh.” So, what is happening today is the unleashing of the unsaid agenda which is palpable amongst the people. I am not going into the issues of J&K, etc., etc., on which we can debate. We have a point of view. But the question is – there is no time to go into all this. But then, what is the political aim of this? Earlier they used to charge today’s opposition as saying that the Government is being run by a remote control from 10 Janpath. Today, the former President of the BJP, currently the Home Minister, says that there is no question of any remote control; we are the same. What did he say at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit? He said, “RSS is not an external force. I am from the RSS; the Prime Minister himself is an RSS volunteer. We are RSS Members from childhood and will remain till we are alive.” Clearly, this is an RSS Government. Don’t claim this dichotomy between fringe elements and the core. There is no such dichotomy. What we and my friends in the opposition were talking, there is no such thing as fringe and core.

So, that is why I will come to the agenda for the people. The President of the BJP himself says these are all chunaavi jumle. The promises made during elections are chunavi jumle. They said that they will bring back the black money. What happened? It was never to come. It was a chunavi jumla.


The worst form of vote-bank politics is being played. Consolidate the majority vote bank. How? It is being done by spreading hatred against the minorities. And, this is the dangerous part – spreading hatred against the minorities – which the whole world is noticing. Not only we, our friend, “Barack”, as we have heard. He is the Prime Minister’s friend. “Mr. Barack” mentioned this twice. The world is watching; the people of India are suffering. So, they must rein in this real agenda of theirs that they are implementing today. That is not in the interest of our country and the idea of India as we know of it. Yes, I know, once upon a time, Sangh Sanchalak, Golwalkar, had said that three internal enemies are preventing RSS from going into forming the Hindu Rashtra. And, who are they? They are the Muslims, the Christians and the Communists. Now, these ‘internal enemies’ need to be eliminated, otherwise, they can’t achieve their purpose. With such hatred, are they talking about the glory of the Indian civilisation, or, just the Hindu civilisation? And, what was the glory of this Indian civilisation? We have got our wisdom down the ages through various texts and sages who have taught us. What does Swami Vivekananda say? Last time, when I quoted him, I was challenged saying that that was not a correct quotation. I hope my friend is here. Anyway, he is not here at the moment. But now, Sir, I quote, “Without the Buddhist Revolution, what would have delivered the suffering millions of our lower classes from the violent tyrannies of the influential higher castes?” It is from Swami Vivekananda’s work, Volume 4, page 462. Then, further, he says, “Mohammedanism came as a message for the masses. The first message was equality. There is one religion – love. No more question of race, colour or anything else.” Then, what does he say is what was being challenged last time when I quoted. I quote, “I

see in my mind’s eye the future perfect India rising out of this chaos and strife, glorious and invincible, with Vedanta brain and the Islamic body.”  They talk of the glory of Hindu civilisation. They talk of making the Bhagavad Gita a national book. Now, what does Bhagavad Gita say? If they want, I dare them to reject that. I will tell you which shloka I am quoting from. It is Chapter VII, shloka 21,  “Whatever celestial form a devotee seeks to worship with faith, I stabilise the faith of that particular devotee in that particular form.” They are disregarding all this, disrespecting all this, brushing aside

all this wisdom that has come down and that has kept this country united. I can quote what Gurudev Rabindranath said. I quote again, “Aryans and non-Aryans, Dravidians and Chinese, Scythians, Huns, Pathans and Moghuls have all merged and lost themselves in one body, and that body is India.” I mean, what they are doing is anachronism of the worst order. They are trying to put the clock back and take India back into a situation of complete strife and anarchy, which cannot build a prosperous India. Forget building a prosperous India, even what we have today will be further destroyed. So, Sir, this is the real agenda which they are following. For that, what do they require – a distortion of science, a distortion our history. Mythology replaces history. Theology replaces philosophy. The Prime Minister says, “What great plastic surgery inventions India had, otherwise Ganesh, the God who is revered by various people, could not have been created.” Take immaculate conception of Karna in Mahabharat; it is not only the Christians or Christianity of the Old Testament that talks of immaculate conception. We have had that before. People were flying, people were going to Mars. Mangalyaan is not a new idea. Mangalyaan is something that we used to do centuries ago. Even if we suppose that you were doing all that;  Expunged: (suppose you were doing all that, why are you in this state today? Why is it that our Buddhist culture, Buddhist treasure of art, Buddhist philosophy all to be found in caves? Why is it not on open ground? It is because Buddhists were actually hunted and ostracized from the society and moved out of the parameters of this India. They were moved out of the parameters of this India, whether it is to Bhutan or onwards to Tibet and China, whether it is to South-East Asia, whether it is to South in Sri Lanka, whether it is to the West until the Taliban destroyed it, whether it is to the Bamiyan, the huge statues of Buddhism. Except for this part, it thrived all over the world. The message of equality and love was destroyed in our country.) What

do they want today to create is exactly the antithesis of what Swami Vivekananda said in 1893 during a speech to the Parliament of World Religions. What did he say finally in his speech? On 11th September, 1893, while concluding his address to the Parliament of World’s Religions, he said, and, I quote, “If the Parliament of Religions has shown anything to the world, it is this: That every system has produced men and women of the most exalted character. In the face of this evidence, if anybody dreams of the exclusive survival of his own religion and the destruction of the others, I pity him from the bottom of my heart, and point out to him that upon the banner of every religion will soon be written in spite of resistance: ‘Help and not fight,’ ‘Assimilation and not Destruction,’

‘Harmony and Peace and not Dissension’.”


He said this 120 years ago. Of course, he could not have foreseen that there will be something like the RSS, which will prevent our country from achieving this. But this is what he said. The point I am trying to make is please come out with your open

agenda. Don’t give ‘development illusions to the people’ when the pursuit of the actual agenda is — and, to put it very pithily – to transform or metamorphose a secular democratic Indian Republic into their version of a rabidly intolerant * Expunged (Hindu Rashtra). That is the project, and, that agenda is unfolding in the nine months.

Sir, you come to the agenda for the people. While this is something which we cannot allow, and, I am sure, nobody in India will allow this splintering of this crucible of

human civilisation, and, that is because of these various religions and various cultures, which have come and mingled.*


Now, if we talk of exclusivity, the unity of this country cannot ever be maintained. Our country can remain united only, and, I underline ‘only’, when you strengthen the bonds of commonality among the diversity that we have, and, it cannot be done by imposing uniformity on diversity, and, you are imposing uniformity.


That cannot be allowed, and, that will not be allowed. That is the conviction that I have today. Kindly look at Paras 44 to 52 of the President’s Address. It is all about the various promises that were made to the people and the achievements that were made. His talks about ‘Make in India’ are as though it is a great invention. He announced ‘Make in India’ and the next week, the Nokia production facility in Tamil Nadu closed down. Twenty five thousand of skilled engineers of my (country’s) youth have been rendered jobless and on the streets. ‘Make in India’ – the reality is something else from what the rhetoric is. The reality, if you want to see, is that today you talked about falling inflation. He talked about the benefits of the international oil prices being passed on to the people. What is the reality? The reduction in price for the people, that has been given during these nine months, is Rs.2.42 paise per litre for petrol and Rs.2.25 paise per litre for diesel. But, what is the reduction of the cost that occurred due to international fall in prices? It is Rs.7.75 paise per litre for petrol and Rs.7.50 paise per litre for diesel. So, how much have you given the people? One-third? Less than that. Less than one-third

of the benefit of the fall in oil prices has gone to the people. And they claim that they have given a lot of benefit to the people! Now, this is the obfuscation that is happening. The truth of the matter is otherwise and that is what you have seen in the Delhi elections’ reflecting. Now, the point is that learn from that and stop only this rhetoric. There was ‘Annadaata Sukhibhava’ in para 10 of the President’s Speech. What is the state of affairs in our agricultural sector? We talk of the Leader of the House speaking in terms of

sixty per cent living on fifteen per cent of the GDP. If they want to be brought here and create industrialisation, give them jobs. Very noble idea! But, what is the reality that we are seeing here. In the current rabi season, that is going on in Indian agriculture, the

cultivated area has reduced by 5.3 per cent. Farmers are abandoning cultivation. Cultivated area has reduced by 5.3 per cent – not productivity, nor production. Farmers are leaving your lands saying that they are no longer productive. Why? Mr. Sharad

Pawar was here in the morning. He is not here now. For three years in a row we caught him here when he was in Government. For three years in a row! The increase in minimum support price has been less than the increase in the cost of production, as

estimated by the Agricultural Prices Bureau. Not by us! So, if you give them a minimum support price that is below the cost of cultivation, they incur debt and because of incurring the debt are unable to pay it back and they are committing suicide. After this

Government has come to power, on December 19, I have the access and as published in media, the Intelligence Bureau (IB), sent a report to this Government which is marked to the National Security Adviser and the Principal Secretary also. What does it  say? Suicide amongst the farmers is increasing and the reasons: due to outstanding loans, rising debts, low crop yield etc.  The main reason is that they are borrowing from private oneylenders and that is why you have the suicide cases on the rise.


Then, you have talked about the NREGA. He said that this much of money has been spent. During the last nine months, according to your own Government’s report, what is the number of people who are being employed under NREGA? It fell from 83.7 lakh households to 60.7 lakh in these nine months. Today, you had the Minister of Finance and the Leader of the House justifying it saying that we have spent all the money. But, why is there a fall in employment? I can go on like this. The Government is tom-toming saying that we are the fastest growing economy in the world. they recently changed the base year calculations for economic statistics. And because of the change in the base year, they are showing the economy has progressed and we are now the fastest growing economy in the world. We have outstripped China. But they did not realise, ironically, that the same change in the base year has also shown the UPA Government in the last two years with much better record.


So, all the election speeches were actually a complete rhetoric based on wrong facts. Forget that issue. Okay, we are the fastest growing economy in the world outstripping China. What is the reality,  The factory output growth sloped down in December 2014 to 1.7 per cent. The fastest growing economy in the world! Our factory output growth is 1.7 per cent falling from 3.9 per cent in December last year. Where are you and what is happening? In the economy today the growth is not taking place because the people of our country do not have adequate purchasing power to buy. Whatever little they are earning, either through growing unemployment or price rise, their disposable

incomes are reducing. The net result is, our economy is not growing because of bottleneck of demand, not bottleneck of supply. This Government is going on talking of bottleneck of supply, foreign investments and domestic investments. It says that

make them invest more and we will grow. Who are there to purchase what these investors produce, Sir? If the investors invest to produce something, somebody has to be there to purchase that.


You cannot sell them in foreign markets because of the global economic crisis and your exports have fallen by 11.7 per cent. The only place you can sell them is in India. And in India people’s purchasing power is reducing, so you can’t sell them here. How will the economy grow? Will it grow by bringing in greater and greater foreign capital? They will come here to maximise their profits by exploiting our mineral resources and our labour.

What needs to be done? I wish the Finance Minister were here to hear this. What needs to be done is to take policy measures to expand the purchasing power in the hands of our

people. And how can that be done? Not by curtailing public investment or disinvesting public sector but by increasing your public investments that can generate new jobs, build the much needed infrastructure and the wages that the people get will expand the domestic market. What they are doing is the exact opposite of what is required.

All these issues have been raised about coal sector and he personally pointed it towards me and said it is not denationalisation. If it is not the denationalisation of coal sector, then tell me why have you removed the clause? The end-use clause is not important; you

can hand over the coal mining to private players; and that means that they can use the minerals for commercial sale. Sir, in reality what is happening is entirely different from the process of privatisation of coal sector through the back door. It is happening

in the name of electricity generation, fertilizers, etc. You exempted four categories saying private mining is allowed. Now you want to extend that further. You are undermining or cutting the branch on which you are sitting. Kalidasa taught us this wisdom long, long

ago. What will happen if you cut the branch on which you are sitting? And that is precisely what this Government is now aiming at. Therefore, what is being done to the Indian economy, unfortunately, is that contrary to all that they have been saying the

opposite is happening as far as the people are concerned. The real promises that they have made to the people.


What is the meaning of this to the actual youth of our country when we talk of creating a better India? Unfortunately, I know the constraints of the honorable President of India. He can only read out what the Cabinet approves and he has probably read out what the Cabinet has approved. And I hope that the speech of the hon. President of India does not turn out to be a mini election campaign or manifesto. What was written last year is totally ignored this year. This year, you have made a string of promises. Now, we don’t know what will happen to them. But, the net result of all this is that the actual conditions of the people are worsening. The actual conditions of the people are worsening and you have this forked tongue operation that is happening. With one tongue speaking the rhetoric of development, which is not being realised, and the other tongue is the real tongue which is

wagging. I think that is where lies a very serious problem of the vision that has been sought to be portrayed that we will build a better India.


Finally, Sir, I come to the question of Foreign Policy and India’s standing in the world. You talked of good relations with the neighbours. What is the policy towards Pakistan? Are we going to talk or not? Are the talks going to take place or not? We are talking

of a strong Government. The Minister of External Affairs has said that this is a strong Government which cannot be ignored in the world. We were hearing the accusation against our former Prime Minister. It was said that in the country, he is maunmohan singh. Abroad, he speaks, but not in the country. And now, in the nine months, I think our Prime Minister has travelled much more than what he has done in about four years. There are some countries which are left out. He is doing that either during the Session or

immediately soon after. Fine! You go all over the world and try to build up your image. But, the question is: Is our Foreign Policy an independent policy or are we succumbing step by step towards becoming a subordinate ally of the US imperialism? The reason I

say this is what is happening in the civil nuclear arrangement. They talk of it as an arrangement and what is there in this arrangement? It is that the supplier will not be liable, that there will be an insurance policy taken out, etc. But, by whom? It would be by our public sector insurance companies, not the private ones, where Government owns the equity. It will be from the public sector insurance companies which will be matched by the Government and that will be the corpus from which compensation will be given,

but the supplier will not be held responsible at all. This is complete violation of the law we passed and this is total surrender to the interest of the American corporate which is being paraded as something done with national objective in mind. So, with the neighbours, we do not know what is happening. With the USA and the world, we do not know what is happening. In sum, this is neither a balance sheet of the last nine months nor a vision for the future except promises of election rhetoric. Last time, nine months ago, on this very occasion of the Motion of Thanks, while concluding, I remember saying that this government has neither given a blueprint of what it wants to do nor a 1,000 days target and now, there are no targets to measure what they have done. New targets and slogans have been given. So, this sort of rhetorical government functioning is not in the interest of the country and worse, it is against the interest of our people. We have moved amendments. I sincerely urge the Government to consider some of these amendments not because you will lose and we will win. That is not the attitude. The attitude is: Are we going to create a better India or not? Are we going to say that everybody in my country, irrespective of which religion he belongs to or an atheist that he is, will find equality, not a benevolent charity of tolerance. You can be charitable and give tolerance. That is not

what is promised in the modern Indian Republic. What is promised is equality.


Are you giving this equality to all the citizens irrespective of their religious affiliations? My submission is no. It is getting worse, and this needs to be corrected. If, unfortunately, the Government doesn’t heed to our point of view, or, opinion, then, the people will have to teach them a lesson whenever the opportunity comes. Therefore, Sir, through

you, I request the Government to seriously consider some of these issues, and make necessary corrections in the interest of the country and the people. Thank you.