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Bhopal/New Delhi, Sep 10 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday hit out at Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s "hawabaazi" (hot air) barb, accusing the opposition party of being "hawalabaaz" (corrupt) for not allowing parliament to function and creating "roadblocks" for the government. The Congress in turn called BJP leaders ‘dagabaaz’ (betrayers) over the black money issue.
"Decisions were taken one after another in parliament. The ‘hawalabaaz’ were worried at the tough decisions by the government against black money. They could sense trouble ahead. That’s why they are putting roadblocks on all major decisions," Modi said while addressing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers in Bhopal before inaugurating the 10th Vishwa Hindi Sammelan.
Modi’s comments were in response to Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday launching a frontal attack on the prime minister, terming his electoral promises as nothing more than "hawabaazi".
Attacking the Congress, Modi on Thursday said he had hoped to make the Congress work with the NDA and push through fiscal reforms, but "ek hai jo manta nahi" (there is one who does not agree), in an oblique reference to the title of a Bollywood film.
Modi said the Congress has not been able to digest its defeat (in the Lok Sabha elections).
Responding to Modi’s ‘hawalabaaz’ jibe, the Congress in New Delhi called BJP leaders ‘dagabaaz’ (betrayers).
"Let the 125 crore population of this country decide who is the ‘dagabaaz’," Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said at a press conference.
"They (BJP leaders) made a ‘hawabaazi’ (hot air) promise before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections to the people of putting Rs.15 lakh in the bank accounts of every person out of the black money brought back from abroad. But after coming to power, they betrayed the people by resorting to ‘hawabaazi’.
"Now, let the people decide who is the real ‘dagabaaz’ (betrayer)," Surjewala said.
Earlier, Modi assured the people of India about fulfilling their dreams and appealed "to those defeated and rejected by the people to please let the nation move ahead" — in another jibe at the opposition.
"Every political party must leave no stone unturned to meet public expectations if it won and also introspect in case of defeat," he added.
"We faced defeat in 1984. We introspected and tried to learn from that defeat. But we didn’t criticise others and corrected our mistakes instead. Today, the nation has given us a majority (in Lok Sabha)."
Continuing his taunts on the Congress, Modi said: "There was a time when the BJP had only two members in parliament. The then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi made fun of the BJP in parliament and we had to listen to it."
"There was a time when the Congress had more than 400 seats in parliament, but now had been reduced to 40-odd seats," he said.
Surjewala continued: "Before the elections, they promised 50 percent profits to the farmers of the country, but after coming to power at the Centre, they left the 70 crore farmers with no option but to commit suicide."