Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday asked BJP leaders to welcome criticism and remain unfazed by allegations, in remarks seen both as defending the demonetisation move as well as rebutting opposition charges of personal corruption against him.
Modi pitched the demonetisation move as the cornerstone of the BJP’s campaign to win the assembly polls in five states, including the politically crucial Uttar Pradesh.
Modi’s comments on the concluding day of the BJP’s two-national executive meet came within hours of the party adopting an economic resolution hailing the recall of high-value banknotes as a “historic step” and linking it to “patriotism” and “people’s honour”.
“We should welcome criticism and should not be afraid of allegations. We must walk the path of truth and goodness and help rebuild the nation,” a party statement quoted Modi as saying.
Modi said some people were concerned with improving their lifestyle but the government was concerned with improving the quality of life of the poor.
“I was born in poverty and have lived in poverty and I understand the pain of poverty.”
The Modi government has faced a barrage of opposition criticism over the demonetisation of 500 and 1000-rupee banknotes. Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi last month accused Modi of accepting bribe from two corporate houses when he was the Gujarat chief minister.
A political resolution on Friday had mentioned the surgical strikes on militant hideouts across the de-facto border with Pakistan, signaling that the issue of terrorism will also figure prominently in the BJP campaigning.
Saturday’s economic resolution lauding the government’s demonetisation move came a day after Modi received a standing ovation from executive members, signalling the party’s backing of the Prime Minister and the mood of its leaders ahead of the assembly elections.
“Demonetisation is an important step towards the establishment of economic inclusion, transparent governance and equitable society in our country. It is the transfer of black money from the tax non-compliant to the poor and the weak,” the resolution said.
The resolution also echoed Modi’s comments that the people of the country had voluntarily supported the demonetisation decision.
“This is reflected in the fact that even after the 50 days of demonetisation, there was not a single major incident in the country, there was no loss of public property and there was no loss of people’s patience anywhere in the country,” the resolution added.
When an executive member expressed fear that party would lose its traditional supporters among the traders due to the demonetisation, party president Amit Shah said the BJP was now keen to win the support of all sections of society, sources said.