In his last speech in the 16th Lok Sabha, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, February 13, took potshots at Congress President Rahul Gandhi for his various gestures and comments made in the House during the last five years, including raking up of the Rafale fighter deal.
He listed various initiatives of his government which were endorsed by the House during its term and said "a lot more needs to be done", inferring his intent to return to power. In this context, he thanked Samajwadi Party veteran Mulayam Singh Yadav for wishing that he returns to the top post.
Modi also appeared to be sending a message to the voters as he emphasised that the world had taken India more seriously during his tenure because his government had a full majority in Parliament.
"This was the first House without a Congress gotra (lineage)," he said in his valedictory address.
He used the occasion to take potshots at Rahul, who was not present in the House but was addressing a press conference at the Congress headquarters over the CAG report on Rafale fighter deal.
"We used to hear that an earthquake will occur. Five years of this House are coming to an end but we did not see any earthquake," Modi said, evoking laughter from the ruling benches.
He was apparently referring to Rahul's comments made long back that if he speaks in the House, there will be an earthquake.
The Prime Minister also referred, in a veiled manner, to raking up of the Rafale deal by Rahul, saying "kuch havai jahaz bhi udaye gaye (some planes were also flown)." He then went on to add that the might and stature of democracy is such that no plane can reach that level.
"Neither did any plane fly nor any earthquake occurred," he said.
At another point, Modi took a dig at Rahul while referring, in a veiled manner, to the hug the Congress president gave to him in House in July last year during the No-Confidence Motion. Rahul, after making a speech, had walked across the House and hugged a seated Modi, to his utter surprise.
"For the first time, I understood the difference between hugging and piling on," Modi quipped.
The Prime Minister also did not forget to mention, again in a veiled manner, the gestures which Rahul was caught making in the House, twice. "This is also the first time I saw playful exchange of glances in the House," he said.
He observed that the House had witnessed nok jhonk (trading of barbs) several times between the government and the Opposition. He said he regretted that at times, the discourse was not pleasant.
Recalling the achievements of the 16th Lok Sabha, the Prime Minister said a number of firsts were achieved its term.
"Several sessions in this Lok Sabha had good productivity... Overall the productivity was 85 percent...This is a very good sign. I want to appreciate the role of the Speaker (Sumitra Mahajan) in conducting the proceedings of the House, as well as Vice President Venkaiah Naidu ji (who is the Chairman of Rajya Sabha)," the Prime Minister said.
He paid tributes to former Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar who passed away a few months ago. "We definitely miss the cheerful Ananth Kumar," he said.
"We will be proud of this 16th Lok Sabha, as it saw the highest number of women members elected to the House. Forty-four first time women MPs were time elected to the Lok Sabha. It is a matter of great pride that even our External Affairs Minister, Defence Minister, Speaker and registrar are women," he said.
Prime Minister Modi also said that the strength of a majority government is one that holds significance on an international level.
"It is after three decades that a majority government came to power in the country. It is for the first time after independence that a government was formed without the help of the Congress lineage," he said.
Recalling the measures taken by his government, the Prime Minister said members of this Lok Sabha should be proud as they were part of the House that enacted several crucial legislations like the GST, increased maternity leave from 12 to 26 weeks, and introduced stringent laws curbing black money, shell companies and benami laws. He added that this House made Aadhaar a superpower.
"Ours is the seventh fastest growing economy, and our self-confidence is at an all-time high," the Prime Minister said.
He said the world is discussing global warming and India took a lead in the formation of the International Solar Alliance to mitigate this menace. While signing off, Modi said now since all the parties will again be going to the people, the discourse should be healthy.