Congress leader hits out at PM Modi over remarks on Rahul, Sonia Gandhi
Demonetisation was the "biggest scam in independent India" due to which many citizens lost their lives, jobs and life-long savings, senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala alleged on Tuesday.
He hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for defending note ban on its second anniversary at a rally in poll-bound Chhattisgarh and reiterated that there was a scam in the Rafale deal.
"The way he was praising demonetisation appeared as if it was 'andher nagri chaupat raja' (a confused ruler, a chaotic state)," he said, referring to a popular Hindi phrase.
Singling out Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi, Modi, had on Monday said in Chhattisgarh that the "mother-son duo was out on bail" and hit out at them for questioning the government's demonetisation move.
Without naming the Gandhis, he said "they should not forget" that it was due to the note ban move that they "had to seek bail".
On November 8, 2016, Modi had announced a ban on then in use Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 denomination bank notes with immediate effect.
Addressing a press conference here, Surjewala claimed that around 120 people died waiting in bank queues for their money, while many lost their jobs and women had to forgo their life-long savings following note ban.
"It is the biggest scam in independent India," he alleged.
"On the second anniversary of note bandi, the prime minister finally broke his silence in Chhattisgarh on Monday. Instead of taking responsibility for the demonetisation scam, he was levelling charges against the opposition," he said.
Modi was appreciating the step (note ban) that snatched away the hard earned money of farmers, poor, labourers, middle class and shopkeepers, he said.
Surjewala claimed that demonetisation benefited those who had black money as they deposited it in banks.
"Overnight, all the black money became white," the All India Congress Committee (AICC) spokesman said.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had on the second anniversary of the note ban exercise last Thursday said it had resulted in the formalisation of the economy and increased tax base, prompting the government to earmark more resources for the poor and infrastructure development.
Surjewala alleged that ahead of the note ban, leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its mentor the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) purchased properties worth hundreds of crores, and demanded that its details are made public and the matter be probed.
He also slammed the Centre over the alleged Rafale scam and said, "Nation doesn't need doctored explanations but fair investigation."
"(The) fixed match between the BJP government and Dassault and the PR stunts of PM Modi and (Dassault CEO) Eric Trappier can't hide the blatant corruption," he alleged.
The government has denied allegations of corruption in the deal.
Further attacking the prime minister, Surjewala termed him as a protector of "ghotalebaaz" (corrupt) and "chowkidar" (watchman) of looters.
The prime minister is frustrated as he is staring at defeat in the ongoing and upcoming elections in the five states as well as the Lok Sabha polls due next year, he claimed.
"Modi is unnerved by the lack of response to his empty rhetoric and 'jumlas' which stand rejected by the people of India. He is worried about losing power and facing investigation on charges of corruption and an impossible bail that he may have to seek," he alleged.
Surjewala said Modi can control Parliament on the strength of his party's majority but he can neither suppress the voice of Rahul Gandhi nor of the people.
"People will give him a befitting reply in the elections underway in five states and in the next year's Lok Sabha polls," he said.
(With inputs from agencies.)