Hitting back at the Opposition for its criticism of his government’s demonetisation decision, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday said people had made him their “chowkidar” (watchman) and he had upset “choron ke sardaron” (leaders of thieves) by striking at them first. He said those “looting the nation” will not succeed because he wears the “raksha kavach” (protection shield) of “125 crore countrymen”.
Defending the decision to ban notes of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500, Modi told a Dehradun rally of the BJP in poll-bound Uttarakhand that the demonetisation drive was intended to bring back “money looted from the poor”.
Without naming Rahul Gandhi but rejecting the Congress vice-president’s charge that he was helping big corporates and the rich, the Prime Minister said: “My fight is against those stashing cash at home. There are people who had filled cupboards with currency notes. They used to keep wads of cash beneath the beds on which they slept. Does this money not belong to the poor?… By banning the old currency notes… I forced open the cupboards of many influential people (hazaar paanch sau ka note band karke achche achchon ka cupboard khol diya hai).”
He said the 2014 mandate was not for just “cutting ribbons and lighting lamps” at ceremonies. “Aapne mujhe chowkidar ka kaam diya hai. Ab mein chowkidari kar raha hoon toh kuchch log pareshaan hain. Unko takleef ho rahi hai. Unko lag raha hai ki aisa kaisa chowkidar aa gaya. Choron ke sardaron par hi pehla vaar kar raha hai (you have given me the job of a watchman and when I am doing my job, many people are upset. They are troubled that such a watchman has come whose first strike is against the leaders of thieves).”
Modi said both black money and those with “black conscience” will have to go: “Desh ko kaale dhan ne barbad kiya hai, desh ko kaale mann ne barbad kiya hai. Kaala dhan bhi jaana chaahiye, kaala mann bhi jaana chaahiye”.
He wondered what his plight would have been had he not had the support of the poor. “Agar desh ki gareeb janata ka mujhe saath nahin hota, toh ye log pata nahin mera kya kar dete. Abhi bhi isi firaq me hain ki mauka mil jaaye toh toot padenge. Lekin unko pata nahin hai ki main 125 crore deshwasiyon ka raksha kavach pahan kar baitha hoon. Jab tak yeh 125 crore deshwasiyon ka raksha kavach hai, desh ko lootne waale hum par ungli nahin utha payenge.”
Taking a dig at the Congress government of Harish Rawat in Uttarakhand over alleged corruption in the 2013 flood relief supplies, the Prime Minister said that he had so far heard of only men involved in embezzlement but in this state, even scooters were corrupt.
“Insaan paise khaata tha, insaan paise maar leta tha, ye suna tha. Uttarakhand me scooter bhi paise khaata hai. Jis scooter me paanch litre ki tanki hoti hai, woh 35 litre petrol kha gaya. Choron ko kahan kahan pakdenge. Uttarakhand me scooter bhi chori kar raha tha,” he said.