The BJP on Thursday threatened legal action against the Congress for levelling “baseless allegations” against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah, and likened the opposition party’s attack on the government over demonetisation with “asuras trying to disturb peace during yajnas”.
Following the onslaught on the government by Opposition parties as the 50-day deadline to ease the cash crunch ended, the government fielded a battery of Union ministers to counter the charges.
“The Congress and its friends are rattled by the prospect of the government going after those who made illegitimate deposits in banks and bought benami properties,” Information & Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said.
Accusing the Congress of “spit and run” tactics and trying to “tar” the image of the government, he said the diversionary tactics would not work. “It will only further strengthen the resolve of the government to trace every trail of corruption over the last several decades,” Naidu said.
He was addressing a press conference on the achievements of the Modi government in the last two years which, he claimed, were “momentous”. He reeled off figures to buttress his claim.
Rebutting the Congress charge that the note ban was a “scam”, Naidu hailed the decision as an effective “anti-scam vaccine” introduced by Modi. Calling it a “yajna” to clean up graft, Naidu said, “Some asuras always try to disturb the peace during the yajna”.
Insisting that the government had taken several transformational initiatives and that “clean India” was the core of this transformation, the senior BJP leader expressed confidence about its success.
“Definitely, by January, things will improve and they will improve rapidly. People will definitely cooperate with the government. That is my confidence,” he said.
Speaking at the BJP headquarters, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that making “wild allegations” showed the “restlessness” of the Congress because the rallies of Modi were breaking all records, including those of Indira Gandhi’s rallies. “The Congress is asking us questions every day, today I want to ask Sonia Gandhi one question. Is her son and his people making these juvenile statements with her approval?” said Prasad.
The Law Minister also defended promulgation of ordinances, saying it was left with no option after the opposition did not allow Parliament to function in the last session.
Power Minister Piyush Goyal added, “If this goes on, we will explore legal options.”
The Congress has made a number of allegations against Modi and Shah, including that of accepting bribes and involvement in money-laundering allegedly through a Gujarat cooperative bank and links with Mahesh Shah, a businessman whose huge income declaration caused a flutter.
Prasad said the bank in question had 200 branches and it would give its own rebuttal, while Mahesh Shah and his associates were being probed.
Calling the Congress “the biggest patron of the corrupt”, Prasad said, “If they have proof (of the allegations) they can talk, otherwise we are not bothered. We reject with full contempt the charges made by the Congress. We have won every election after demonetisation. The Congress should have learnt its lessons from there, but it did not and is still talking for the corrupt.”
He added, “All deposits that have happened will not automatically be treated as white or clean money. Those who deposited that money will have to account for it and pay tax.”