New Delhi: Launching a fresh broadside against main opposition Congress for its position post-demonetisation,Prime Minister Narendra Modi went on to maintain the move was a game changer claiming it was not for some short-term windfall gain, but for a long-term structural transformation.
In an exclusive interview with leading media group ‘India Today’, his first after he announced note ban on November 8 and which completed 50-day time limit to use old currency, the PM sought to allay all apprehensions of the ‘honest’ while in a no-hold-bar manner claiming that the black money had all been forced out into the open.
Choosing the occasion to aim Congress for another round of fusillade, Modi said that he felt pity for the party as they had shown desperation after the Centre’s decision of demonetisation and their leaders were preoccupied with elections. Listing benefits of the demonetisation, apart from digging out the black money, he pointed out that counterfeit notes, available in high volumes with our enemies, had been instantly neutralised like in the case of terrorists, Maoists and other extremists beside having a crippling impact on dangerous and highly damaging illegal activities, such as human trafficking, and the narcotics trade.
Picking out former PM Manmohan Singh for describing note ban as a ‘monumental mismanagement’ and an ‘organised loot’, he went to an extent commenting ,the former might have been referring to the never ending scams like 2G, CWG and coal block allocation during his tenure. “ It is interesting that the words ‘monumental mismanagement’ come from a leader who has been at the helm of India economic journey for around 45 years,” he remarked.
Reiterating the honest people will not be harassed at any cost while those holding black money will not be spared after December 30, the deadline of exchanging scrapped currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 from banks. “There is nothing political in the demonetisation decision. It was a tough decision taken to clean up our economy and our society. If I were guided by short term electoral politics, I would have never done so,” he added.
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Blaming the opposition for the complete washout of the recent Winter Session of Parliament due to disruptions over government’s November 8 decision of demonetisation, the PM said the Centre made every possible effort to keep both Houses functioning. Condemning the opposition for trying to protect the dishonest, he said the opposition in Parliament was understandable but this was the first time it was being used to protect the dishonest and that too so openly.
The PM said he was willing to speak in both Houses. Yet, there was a concerted attempt by the Congress to derail the functioning of the Houses rather than have a proper debate.