Under fire from the opposition, Prime Minister Narendra Modi remained firm on demonetisation, telling party MPs on Tuesday it was the beginning and not the end of his government’s fight against black money.
The party, too, backed Modi, passing a resolution supporting the decision to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 banknotes, saying “people were queuing up for a better India”.
“I am not here for myself or my associates, I am here for poor. Welfare of poor will happen,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister, said sources, got emotional on two occasions as he talked about the lack of housing and drinking water for poor.
The opposition has accused the government of unleashing financial anarchy, saying people in rural areas and those who were unbanked were distressed as cash had dried up.
In his 10-minute speech, Modi reminded party colleagues of his first address in the Central Hall of Parliament, wherein he dedicated his government to the poor.
Two weeks after Modi announced the currency switch, people are still being forced to queue up for hours to withdraw money from banks and ATMs. Opposition parties have accused the government of shoddy implementation and failing to plan for the big change.
Modi, however, said enough time had been given to people to declare illicit cash and wealth. “I had warned that those having black money will not be spared after the deadline or the disclosure of such wealth,” he said, referring to a disclosure scheme that ended September 30. “I didn’t hide anything from anyone.”
The BJP MPs went into a huddle as the opposition parties were meeting to finalise their strategy to take on the government in Parliament and outside. Parliament has seen repeated disruptions, with the Opposition insisting that Modi be there to answer their queries.
“The Prime Minister can speak on TV, pop concert, but why not in the Parliament,” Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said, referring to Modi addressing the audience, through video conference, at a Coldplay concert in Mumbai.
The BJP was confident that the “bold initiative” would cut off financial support to the terrorists and extremists oganisations, address the problem of fake currency and “checkmate” illicit money in the system, the resolution said.