Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi whether after 50 days, every citizen would get Rs 15 lakh each in their bank accounts, as he had promised in his 2014 election campaign.
Prasad was reacting to the PM’s appeal to people to give him 50 days and brave the ‘limited inconvenience’ after his November 8 announcement to demonetise old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 banknotes.
In a series of tweets on Sunday evening, Prasad said if people, after all this action, still did not get Rs 15 lakh each in their bank accounts, it would mean it was a ‘furgical strike’ (farcical strike) and a ‘fake encounter’ of the common man. He sought an assurance from the PM that every individual account would be credited with Rs 15 lakh each after recovering black money within the next two months.
Casting aspersions on Modi’s intention to root out corruption, he also questioned the government’s prudence in introducing Rs 2000 denomination notes.
Taking potshots at the PM, Prasad tweeted, “Defaulter poonjipati paanch sitaron mein, aam aadmi kataron mein aap videshi nazaron mein. Aur aap ye keh rahein ho jo kataron mein hain wo chor-nakare hain? (“Defaulter industrialists are in five-star hotels, common man are in queue and you are sightseeing abroad. And, you say that those standing in queues are rogues and useless people?”)
Referring to the post demonetisation cash crunch, Prasad said while pushing the country into such a crisis, the PM had initially said it would be only for a few days. “Thereafter (Arun) Jaitley (Union finance minister) said it would be for 15 days and now you say 50 days. The poor are struggling, Mr PM,” Prasad said in another tweet.
Without mentioning specific cases of public anger, he said the situation had become explosive. There have been instances when people, standing in queues at banks and ATMs, have engaged in brawls and also damaged ATMs for lack of cash.
While reiterating that he, too, was against black money, Prasad said the government’s implementation of its decision was skewed, putting the common man to severe hardship.
Prasad asked if the government would make public after 50 days the figures on the number of deaths due to shock, lack of food and medical treatment for want of cash in hand despite having money in their bank accounts.
While questioning the PM if it was a ploy to save big industrial defaulters, the RJD chief sought to know from Modi the debt they owed to banks and what action was the government taking against them.
With people standing in serpentine queues for hours to exchange old high banknotes with small currency, Prasad also sought to know from Modi how much productivity and manhours have been lost so far.