On A day Prime Minister Narendra Modi hit out at the Opposition, and the confrontation between the government and the Opposition deepened in the House, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi dared the Prime Minister to participate in a debate on currency withdrawal in Parliament and asked what he is scared of. Referring to Modi’s different addresses since the day he made the cash scrap announcement on November 8, Rahul on Friday told the media, “Modiji was laughing first. Did you see? He felt like laughing. Then three or four times he cried. Didn’t he? (He should) come to the House. Then let’s see what happens…what emotion you will get to see on Modiji’s face.”
He said, “Let there be a discussion. Everything will become clear…. We are only saying that MPs should engage in discussion in Lok Sabha. Prime Minister should come (to the House). There will be a debate for four or five hours. The Prime Minister should sit during the discussion.”
Pointing out that Modi had “walked away from Rajya Sabha” after listening to the Opposition before lunch on Thursday, Rahul said, “Pyaar se hum bolenge, pyaar se wo bole, desh ko sab pata chal jayega (We will speak politely, he will speak politely, the people will get to know everything).”
The “main issue”, Rahul said, is that the Prime Minister doesn’t come to the Lok Sabha for discussion. “The moment he comes to Lok Sabha, doodh ka doodh, paani ka paani ho jayega (everything will be clear). The Prime Minister does not want to sit in Lok Sabha. We have been stopped from speaking in the Lok Sabha. What are you scared of,” Rahul asked.
Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said the Indian banking system is now “shaken” and its credibility has taken a hit. He said there is an undeclared financial emergency in the country. “The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which is in charge of monetary policy and currency printing, has defaulted and failed…. Its reputation is in tatters today, because currency is not available,” he said.
Sharma also said that the RBI governor’s “accountability must get fixed”. Calling the central bank “ill-prepared” for the demonetisation move, he said, “The RBI has self-destroyed its reputation.”
Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal asked whether Modi is afraid of facing his own MPs in Lok Sabha. “He will speak, but only outside Parliament…. He (BJP) has a majority in Lok Sabha, (so) why is he not speaking in Lok Sabha? Because he knows his own people (BJP MPs) have gone against him, because they can’t face people now,” Sibal said.
Modi, he said, is silent in Rajya Sabha because he knows “questions will be asked”. Sibal said, “If he is asked questions, he would be expected to answer; and if he does not answer, he will be exposed. People will realise that perhaps the Prime Minister’s knowledge may be deficient on certain topics.”
Sibal also said said the Prime Minister is “not worthy of trust” since he has failed to fulfill any of his promises.