New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday mixed Urdu poetry and sarcasm to take digs at the Congress which he compared to 'mrityu' (death) even as he sought the cooperation of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha for the passage of pending key reform bills.
He made a strong case for coordination between the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha where the government lacks numbers.
"Let us pass bills earlier passed in the Lok Sabha as soon as possible and give an impetus to India's progress," he told the Rajya Sabha.
The prime minister's remarks came during his reply to a debate on President Pranab Mukherjee's address to parliament as some critical legislations, including the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, are pending in the Rajya Sabha.
"The nation is waiting for us to pass many bills," Modi said.
Drawing a parallel between death and the Congress, he said, "Death is a blessing... it's above criticism... no one criticises death. People say someone died of cancer, (people say) he died of old age... The cancer and old age is blamed, but not death."
"Sometimes, I feel, the Congress is also blessed (like death)... whenever we criticise the Congress, the media says the opposition is under attack," Modi said.
Quoting noted Urdu poet Nida Fazli, the prime minister urged the opposition parties to "change" their parliamentary strategy.
"Kissi ke waaste raahein kahan badalti hain, tum apne aap ko khud hi badal sako to chalo (paths don't change their course for anybody, if you can change yourself, please do so)," he said.
Modi said that while he was not an economist like his predecessor Manmohan Singh -- who was also present in the house, "I have worked with farmers and know some things".
He strongly defended his government's ambitious promise to double farmers' income by 2022.
The prime minister countered the opposition criticism on minimum educational qualifications for contesting panchayat polls in Gujarat and Rajasthan and challenged the Congress to field "illiterate people" in the coming assembly elections in four states.
"Let you give tickets to illiterate people and see what the experience will be like," Modi said.
Earlier, the prime minister appreciated the cooperation of members in the ongoing budget session of parliament and said that, unlike previous sessions, the proceedings were going on smoothly.
This was due to the positive influence of the president's address in which he had urged all members to allow smooth conduct of parliament, Modi said.