From dynastic politics to curbs on freedom of expression, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday tore into the Congress as he replied to the debate on motion of thanks to the President’s address in Rajya Sabha

Launching a scathing attack on Jawaharlal Nehru, PM Modi said Goa had to remain under imperial rule for years so that the former prime minister could maintain his image at the international level.

“This year is the 60th anniversary of Goa’s Liberation. The way Sardar Patel took initiative for Hyderabad and Junagadh, if lessons were taken from it, Goa would not have had to stay in slavery for 15 more years. Goa would have been liberated much earlier. The media reports from back then will tell you that the then Prime Minister (Jawahar Lal Nehru) was concerned about his international image. That is why he thought that if Goa’s foreign government was attacked, his image of a peace-loving global leader would have been harmed. So he let Goa suffer. When our fellow Indians, satyagrahis were being fired upon, he said that he will not send our Army," the prime minister said.

He added: “Nehru ji on 15 August 1955 had said in his address from the Red Fort this and I quote: ‘Have no doubts that we will take any secret steps for Goa. There is no force around Goa. Some people within India want to make noise and compel us to send forces there. We will not send a force, we will resolve it peacefully and everybody must understand that.’ This statement was against the people of Goa.”

Blaming Nehru’s “arrogance” for depriving Goa of liberation for several years, PM Modi said: “I further quote him (Nehru). ‘The ones going there are welcome to do so. But it should be remembered that the ones calling themselves satyagrahis should remember the principles of satyagraha. Sending forces is not the way of satyagraha’.”

The prime minister also hit out at Indira Gandhi for suppressing freedom of expression, citing examples of singer Lata Mangeshkar’s brother Pandit Hridaynath Mangeshkar being sacked from All India Radio because he recited Savarkar’s poetry. “This is Congress freedom of speech?” Modi asked.

“Majrooh Sultanpuri and Prof Dharampal were both jailed for criticising Nehru. Kishore Kumar did not bow to Indira Gandhi during the Emergency and he was banned from singing on the radio. We know how freedom of expression is curbed when people don’t agree to one family,” the prime minister said.

PM Modi slammed the Congress for accusing the Centre of rewriting history and said that the Congress’s thinking has been hijacked by ‘urban Naxals’. “We are accused of trying to change or rewrite history. This is because of the fact that Congress now thinks like ‘urban Naxals’ and their psychology has become destructive. The urban Naxals have taken over Congress’ consciousness. We are not changing history, we are just refreshing people’s memories. We are just taking the history a few 100 years back as it should be. Some people’s version of history is just one family, what do we do about that?" he asked.

The prime minister’s comments led to ruckus in the House as Congress protested against the attack. Irate members then walked out of the Rajya Sabha.