Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Monday reiterated his view that the central government’s demonetisation initiative was not akin to conducting surgical strikes on black money hoarders, but firebombing the country’s poor.
Addressing a ‘janakrosh rally’ at the BRP inter-college ground in Jaunpur, Gandhi’s first in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh since the washed out winter session of Parliament, he said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had “drawn blood” from the veins of 99% Indians through demonetisation. “The November 8 decision was not against black money or corruption, but against farmers and the poor,” the Congress leader claimed.
Gandhi had made a similar comparison during a rally at Margao, Goa, on Friday. “Yeh surgical strike nahi thi, yeh Hindustan ke imaandar logon pe firebombing thi (This was not a surgical strike, it was firebombing the honest people in India),” he said back then.
During his Jaunpur rally, the Congress leader alleged that demonetisation was a strategy employed by Modi to use the hard-earned money of the poor to help out 50 corporate friends “who visit China, USA and Japan with him”.
“The Prime Minister has given 60% of India’s wealth to 1% of its population,” he said. “Demonetisation is only making honest taxpayers suffer. When I asked him to waive farmer loans, he did not answer my question.”
Gandhi questioned Modi’s claim that demonetisation was a secret plan, and nobody was aware of it.
Seeking answers from the Prime Minister on four counts, he said: “One, if nobody was aware of the demonetisation move, how did the Bihar BJP purchase land a few days before it was announced? Two, why did the Bengal BJP deposit all its funds in banks three hours before demonetisation? Three, the PM should explain how former Karnataka minister Gali Janardhan Reddy managed to arrange `500 crore for his daughter’s marriage. Four, how was `6 lakh crore deposited in banks in September if the move was kept under wraps?”
Gandhi said the initiative was a failure as only 6% black money existed in the form of currency, and the rest was parked in real estate and gold.
The Congress vice-president also claimed that Switzerland had provided a list of Swiss bank account holders to the Centre. “We want the names to be made public, but PM Modi is not doing so,” he said, adding that the party would give “cent per cent support” to any genuine law brought about to eliminate corruption.
Gandhi, however, said “Modi murdabad” slogans were not to be raised at Congress meetings because it amounted to insulting the country’s premier.