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Sharad Pawar slams Modi for dragging Indira into note ban debate

NCP president Sharad Pawar on Saturday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for dragging Indira Gandhi into the demonetisation debate

india Updated: Dec 18, 2016 00:56 IST
Prajakta Chavan
NCP president Sharad Pawar on Saturday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for dragging Indira Gandhi into the demonetisation debate.
NCP president Sharad Pawar on Saturday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for dragging Indira Gandhi into the demonetisation debate.(HT File Photo)

Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar on Saturday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his statement about Indira Gandhi refusing to scrap high-value notes.

On Friday, Modi attacked the Congress for opposing demonetisation, and narrated how in 1971, then PM Gandhi refused demonetisation fearing she would lose elections. “The root of the problem is that for the Congress, the party is more important than the country. But for the BJP, it is the other way around,” Modi said.

Pawar on Saturday asked why BJP governments after Gandhi’s time — led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Morarji Desai that included BJP stalwarts like LK Advani — had not taken this decision. “Now, you are blaming Indira Gandhi, but when you had power, your governments also did not take this decision. You are praising yourself for the decision taken, that’s fine. At least don’t criticise others,’’ Pawar told media persons at the party’s office in Mumbai.

Read | There is no comparison between Modi and Indira. Absolutely not: Sonia Gandhi

Following reports about stacks of new notes surfacing after raids across the country, the NCP chief questioned the government about the security gaps and asked about back door deals. “When the common man cannot get new notes, how are so many banknotes being found in raids? Are there back door deals being done? This cannot happen without nexus with official administration. It is the government’s responsibility to safeguard the new currency,’’ Pawar said.

He criticised the government about poor implementation, saying the Centre failed to provide an alternative payment mode. It has affected agriculture, smallindustries, Pawar said. “The decision is affecting the nation economically; small traders are not getting jobs. They are not able to pay salaries. People can’t withdraw from their own accounts. Bank employees are working but owing to lack of notes, they face public rage.”

The Modi government’s shock announcement to scrap Rs500 and Rs1,000 on November 8 threw the nation into a frenzy overnight, with people still in long queues in the scramble to exchange old notes. The Centre maintains the move will weed out black money, but has come under Opposition fire.