As India celebrated a spectacular hockey win at the Olympics today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi referenced the milestone to target the opposition, accusing it of shooting “self-goals” for political gains.
“On one hand our country, our youth are accomplishing so much, scoring winning goals. Yet there are some people who, for their political motives are intent on self-goals. They have nothing to do with what the country wants, what the country is achieving and how the country is changing,” PM Modi said at a virtual interaction.
The Prime Minister was interacting with beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana in Uttar Pradesh, not long after the Indian men’s team defeated Germany at the Olympics to score a bronze, ending a 41-year wait for a medal.
PM Modi’s comments add to the bitter government-opposition standoff in parliament amid daily disruptions and protests. Opposition parties have been protesting against the government over the Pegasus snooping allegations, fuel prices and farmer protests among other issues.
Earlier, PM Modi had accused the opposition of insulting the constitution, democracy and the people by not allowing parliament to function.
“Parliament is being insulted by the acts of the Opposition in both Houses. The person who snatched the paper and tore it is not repentant of his acts,” the Prime Minister said at a meeting of BJP MPs on Tuesday.
He was referring to Trinamool MP Santanu Sen who snatched IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw’s papers as he was about to make a statement on the Pegasus scandal.
PM Modi also condemned what he called “derogatory comments by a senior MP regarding passage of bills” – a reference to Trinamool MP Derek O’Brien’s tweet accusing the government of “passing laws like papri chaat”.
Last week, the PM accused the Congress of single-handedly preventing parliament from functioning and urged his party MPs to “expose it” before the people and the media.
The government-opposition row escalated sharply after the Pegasus allegations published by a consortium of media houses around the world, including The Wire from India.
Opposition leaders like Rahul Gandhi, poll strategist Prashant Kishor and 40 journalists have been revealed as potential targets of Israeli Pegasus spyware, which is sold only to governments.
The opposition has demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe, as well as a discussion in Parliament with both the Prime Minister and Home Minister Amit Shah present.