New Delhi: The Congress has responded to Bharatiya Janata Party’s sustained charge that Rahul Gandhi has disrespected India by criticising the government abroad with a series of video clips that show Prime Minister Narendra Modi purportedly insulting or speaking flippantly about the previous Congress government in various countries abroad.
The long thread was tweeted by party spokesperson Supriya Shrinate, who said it was a thread of “all the times when PM Modi had insulted India abroad.” In all, it contains nine clips of Modi addressing foreign audiences. Most of the speeches were made in the first few years after Modi came to power and contain references to and criticism of the Manmohan Singh government.
जब जब विदेश में PM मोदी ने भारत का अपमान किया – सुनिए पूरी कहानी – उन्हीं की ज़ुबानी
और अब बताइए माफ़ी किसको माँगनी चाहिए
पहले लोगों को भारतीय पैदा होने की वजह से शर्मिंदगी होती थी, लेकिन अब गर्व की अनुभूति होती है
— Supriya Shrinate (@SupriyaShrinate) March 14, 2023
In 2015, a year into office, Modi addressed members of the Indian community in China’s Shanghai and said he had given Indians abroad a sense of pride of belonging in India.
The Hindu‘s diplomatic editor Suhasini Haidar tweeted that Modi had said, “One year ago, Indians abroad celebrated our win. And sang, the bad days are gone. Earlier you were ashamed, today you are proud of India.” The paper also reported on it.
A report in Scroll.in noted some degree of outrage against the statement, and the one that follows.
In South Korea, Modi addressing the Indian community reception in Seoul May 18, 2015, said in Hindi, “There was a time when Indians would say, ‘I wonder what we did in our previous life to be punished with a life in India now. Is this a country? Is this a government? Are these a people? Let’s leave’.”
The speech is available in a video hosted by the official YouTube channel in Modi’s name.
“And people would leave. We would see people being told, ‘Brother you shouldn’t do business here, you shouldn’t live here.’ And most people already had a foot outside the country. I don’t want to go into the reasons. Nor do I want to comment on the politics of this. But this is the truth of the land. People were disheartened, angry. I can say with belief today that notable people from separate walks of life – noted scientists, and so on – even if they are going to get less money than they would have abroad are eager to return to India.”
The mood has changed, he says, afterwards.
“The government is not the country, it’s the passion of 125 crore people,” he says, somewhat prophetically.
At Berlin in Germany, as part of his tour of Europe on which several outlets reported, Modi took on the Congress. He said that during Congress rule, Indians would receive only 15 paise out of Re 1 worth of benefits.
“Woh kaunsa panja tha..,” Modi said, pausing for effect as the audience roared.
“Woh kaunsa panja tha jo 85 paise ghis leta tha?” he asked. Translated, the words mean, “Which hand was it that used to take away the 85 paise?”
The Congress’s election symbol is the hand.
In 2014, at the peak of his popularity, Modi addressed the crowd at the Allphones Arena in Sydney’s Olympic Park in Hindi. This was the first time an Indian prime minister had visited Australia in almost three decades.
This welcome. This respect. This enthusiasm l dedicate it to the people of India: PM pic.twitter.com/71Fmb84ZQV
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) November 17, 2014
In his speech he said, “The earlier government used to say, ‘We made this law, that law,’ and so on. My vehicle goes the other way. They find joy in making laws and I find joy in ending them.”
The full speech can be found here.
Speaking at Madison Square Garden in New York, in September, 2014, Modi repeated this claim that he likes to break down laws.
While his speech is in Hindi, the official translation provided by the Press Information Bureau has him saying this:
“They would pride themselves on making this law and that law. You must have heard about it in the entire election campaign. I am doing something different. I am working to eliminate all the dated and redundant laws. Such outdated laws, a whole web of unnecessary laws, if a common man would dare to enter, he could not find his way out. I have especially created a team of experts. I have instructed them that I will be the happiest if I am able to eliminate even a single law each day.”
In 2015, in a speech which was uploaded to the official ‘PMO India’ account on YouTube, Modi says to a large crowd in Toronto, Canada, “Those who have created nuisance have left, but I will clean it up.”
The audience is heard applauding.
The thread also has a clip of Modi’s comments in London in 2018, on which The Wire had reported, noting that doctors across India had expressed disappointment over his statements.
In his speech, that has been widely circulated on social media, Modi referred to doctors’ “foreign trips” to attend pharmaceutical company-sponsored conferences. “You probably know that doctors’ conferences are held sometimes in Singapore, sometimes in Dubai. They don’t go there because people are ill there; they go because the pharmaceutical companies need them to,” Modi said in the speech.
Doctors’ associations across the country called the remarks “unjust” and “uncalled for”.
Shrinate’s thread also has references to times when Modi called the previous government “indecisive” in Doha, capital of Qatar. In California, he purportedly said that India’s dreams have not been fulfilled.