Prime Minister Narendra Modi tore into the Congress party on Wednesday for what he termed as "dividing" Andhra Pradesh, and the country in 1947, for political gains.
"This is your character. You divided India. Even after 70 years of Independence, 125 crore people of India continue to suffer because of the poison you sowed. Not a single day passes when people of India are not punished for your sins," Modi said, speaking in the Lok Sabha on the Motion of Thanks to the President's address.
Modi addressed the House while some Andhra MPs were raising slogans, demanding the financial package for Andhra Pradesh that was promised when Telangana was carved out of it during the fag end of the UPA rule in 2014.
The Prime Minister said that the Congress "hastily" divided the southern state for political gains.
"When we speak about creating new states, we remember the manner in which Atal Bihari Vajpayee created Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. He showed how farsighted decision making is done," Modi said.
He said the opposition's criticism of the government had no substance.
"This is the same party that divided India. For decades, one party devoted all their energies to serve one family. The interests of the nation were overlooked just for the interests of one family."
He said that the Congress keeps telling the nation that India got democracy due to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and the Congress. "Is this their reading of India's history? What arrogance is this?" he said.
Modi said India did not get democracy because of Nehru, and asked the Congress leaders to "please look at our rich history where there are many examples of rich democratic traditions that date back centuries ago".
"Democracy is integral to this nation and is in our culture," he stated.
Modi’s speech is significant because it comes in the backdrop of continuous protests by agitated members of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) and the Congress from Andhra Pradesh.
These members have been protesting for two days over what they termed "non-implementation" of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act.
Meanwhile, Congress MP KVP Ramachandra Rao was suspended for a day from the Rajya Sabha after creating a commotion in the House.
Earlier this week, the MP held a placard that read ‘Help Andhra Pradesh’, and created a ruckus, following which Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien threatened to penalise the Congress leader.
Reacting to protests a day earlier on Tuesday, Finance Minister Jaitley said the Andhra Pradesh Finance Secretary will hold discussions with the Union Expenditure Secretary in New Delhi shortly to work out assistance for the state from externally-aided projects.
"One particular issue is of how the amount -- in view of the special status -- has to be paid. This, we had announced. This will be given and the state has requested for it," he said.
The Union Minister said the Centre had already provided Rs 3,900 crore to Andhra Pradesh as revenue deficit after its bifurcation.