New Delhi: After BJP president Amit Shah's maiden speech in Parliament, the Congress on Monday hit back at the ruling party saying that the present government is not a 'game-changer' but a 'name-changer'.
Speaking in the Rajya Sabha during the Motion of Thanks to President’s address, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said that names of all the schemes launched under the UPA rule after 1985 had been changed. "That is why I say, that the government is not a 'game changer' but a 'name changer'," he said.
On the issue of triple talaq, Azad said, "The Congress opposes triple talaq but we do not support criminalising it."
He further said that under the BJP-led NDA government, there has been the highest number of ceasefire violations and soldier deaths. "Opposition and all political parties are with the government on Jammu and Kashmir but the situation in the state is the worst that it has been in 70 years."
Among other things Azad took jibes at the government’s initiatives likes ‘Start-Up India’ and ‘Skill India’. "BJP has created a record for employment in 2017 by not creating a single job," he said.
At the same time, the Congress leader said that for every scheme for which the government does not have answers, the target year is 2022. “Is this budget for four years," he asked.
Targeting the government over price rise, Azad said, “The price of the cylinder, which used to be Rs 350 during our rule, is over Rs 800 today. Prices of grains, pulses and vegetables have also risen by 300 times.”
Meanwhile, speaking earlier, Shah on Monday tore into the Congress over its criticism of the GST, saying it was not a 'Gabbar Singh Tax' (phrase coined by Congress chief Rahul Gandhi) but the revenues go to pay for 'one rank, one pension' and subsidises the poor.
In his maiden address in the Rajya Sabha, he also asked whether the Congress was inciting the people not to pay taxes, as he listed out the NDA government's achievements on various fronts.
Initiating the debate on the Motion of Thanks for the President's address, Shah took on senior Congress leader P Chidambaram for his 'pakoda' jibe and said it was better to sell pakodas than being unemployed.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said in a recent interview that a person selling pakodas was employed.
In his almost 90-minute speech, Shah also pitched for simultaneous Assembly and Lok Sabha elections, besides touching upon a host of measures taken by the government - ranging from power supply, toilets, gas, employment and health facilities to the people.
He said in 2013, the situation in the country was such that the future was uncertain, women felt unsafe and the morale of jawans guarding the border could not display their valour due to the government's indecisiveness.
On the issue of unemployment, Shah said the problem was persisting even after 55 years of Congress rule but so intense that eight years (of NDA rule) were not enough to resolve it. He referred to the initiatives taken by the government in this regard including Skill India, Stand Up India, Start-Up India and MUDRA schemes.
While appreciating the nationalisation of banks unleashed by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, he said the doors of banks were not opened for the poor, which has been done now.
Referring to the triple talaq legislation, Shah said Muslim women were battling for their rights in courts since last many years.
He said in the Shah Bano case then Congress government framed a law to oppose the court's verdict and the party was again opposing the triple talaq legislation, although the manner of opposing may be different.
"When the Prime Minister brings a legislation to protect the rights of Muslim women, the bill was stalled in the Rajya Sabha," the BJP chief said.
Shah said the government was being run in a transparent manner and in the last 3.5 years, even the Opposition has not been able to accuse the government of any scam. He said dynastic politics, casteism and appeasement were three problems plaguing the country.
(With PTI inputs)