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Monday, Sep 23, 2019

A bitter pill but..: Chidambaram gets back at PM on notes ban, with a twist

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had claimed that demonetisation was a bitter pill necessitated due to the spread of corruption during the Congress regime so that black money “stashed under beds” could be brought back into the country’s treasury.

india Updated: Nov 21, 2018 19:51 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
Former finance minister P Chidambaram today used Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s own “bitter medicine” words to hit back at him in two tweets.
Former finance minister P Chidambaram today used Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s own “bitter medicine” words to hit back at him in two tweets.(HT File Photo)
         

Congress president Rahul Gandhi and former finance minister P Chidambaram fired another salvo at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his sudden decision to ban high-value currency notes that, they said, has hurt farmers and destroyed small industries.

Chidambaram, who was the first to launch his tweet-strike, picked on a justification for the decision that PM Modi had given yesterday. The prime minister had, speaking at a rally in Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh, explained his notes ban decision as a bitter medicine to wipe out corruption.

“The truth, Mr Prime Minister, is that you used note ban as a ‘tez’ (bitter) medicine to destroy MSME. Now, Government wants RBI to revive that sector!,” Chidambaram wrote, in a sharp criticism of the November 2016 move by the government to invalidate old high value currency notes.

A few hours later, Rahul Gandhi delivered his comeback to PM Modi.

“The notes ban has destroyed the lives of crores of farmers. Now they don’t have enough money to buy seeds or fertiliser. But even today, the Modi government is making fun of the helpless farmers’ plight. Now, even his agriculture ministry is saying that demonetisation broke the farmers’ back,” he tweeted.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had sought to justify the notes ban, arguing that it was a bitter pill necessitated due to the spread of corruption during the Congress regime so that black money “stashed under beds” could be brought back into the country’s treasury.

Modi had said this while addressing a public meeting in Jhabua, 350 kilometres west of Bhopal, where he had gone to campaign for the BJP ahead of the state assembly elections on November 28.

Modi had said: “When termites strike, the most poisonous chemical is required to treat it. Corruption spread on such a scale during Congress regime that I had to use a bitter pill of demonetisation to treat the same so that those who looted the poor returned the money to the country’s treasury.”

On November 8, 2016, Prime Minister Modi had, in a televised address, announced that the Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes would be rendered invalid from midnight that day. Ever since then, the Opposition and other parties have time and again criticised the move saying that the decision has badly affected various sectors of the economy. Even as the opposition parties are trying to make it a poll issue, the prime minister and the ruling BJP has claimed it to be a success story and claims that it the decision has helped remove black currency and had reduced corruption.

First Published: Nov 21, 2018 13:35 IST