TAKING ON the Opposition parties on the eve of their nationwide “protest day” on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said while his government was working to stop corruption and black money, others were planning a “Bharat bandh”.
“Ek taraf sarkar…hum sab bhrastachar ke saare raste bandh karne me lage hain, kale dhan ke saare raste bandh karne me lage hain. Doosri taraf, Bharat bandh karne me lage hain (On one hand, the government is working to stop corruption and black money. On the other hand, they are working on a Bharat bandh),” he said, addressing the BJP’s Parivartan Yatra in Kasya assembly segment of Kushinagar.
“Aap mujhe bataiye… bhrastachar ka rasta bandh hona chahiye, ya Bharat bandh hona chahiye… Kaale dhan ka raasta bandh hona chahiye, ya Bharat bandh hona chahiye (You tell me… should we stop corruption and black money, or should we call for a Bharat bandh),” he asked the crowd.
Modi said he accepted that the public may face inconvenience for up to 50 days. “Jo bade-bade log hain… unhe badi-badi takleef hai, jo chote-chote log hain…unhe choti-choti takleef hai (The big people have big problems, the small people have small problems),” he said.
The Prime Minister said the demonetisation decision was taken in the interest of the poor, to recover the funds looted for 70 years and utilise it for building houses for the poor, providing electricity for their houses, education for their children, water for their fields, and medicines for their elderly.
He said this has become possible due to the suppor of the people. “People from the across the nation have given their support, even after facing inconvenience… In the coming days, the entire country will accept…Faisla kathor tha, lekin bhawishya ujjawal hai (the decision was difficult, but the future is bright).” he said.
Modi said newspapers in China had reported that nobody could show the courage to take such a decision in a democracy. “They do not know that there is such a democracy here… Courage to take such a strong decision comes from the support of the people,” he said.
Urging the people to shift to cashless transactions by using their cellphones, he said: “Just like you send photos from cellphones through WhatsApp… you can easily purchase anything by using your mobile phone if you have money in your bank account. Your mobile phone has turned into a branch of your bank. You have your bank in your hands. There is no need to carry a wallet. The money is in your mobile phone… Your money belongs to you and you can spend it without any hurdle.”
Modi appealed to the educated youth and government officials to help others to use mobile phone banking.
In his Mann ki Baat address earlier in the day, Modi warned against “misusing the poor” to park illegal funds in their accounts, saying a “stringent law” to deal with benami transactions would be implemented.
“Even now, some people think they can bring their black money… back into the system through illegal means. Unfortunately, they are misusing the poor for this purpose by misleading, luring or tempting them by putting money into their accounts,” he said, adding that “a very stringent law to deal with benami transactions is being implemented that will make such things (transactions) very difficult”.
“I would tell such people that to reform or not is your wish. Following the law or not is your wish — that the law will take care of. But please don’t play with the lives of the poor. Don’t do anything due to which, when there is an investigation, the name of the poor comes on record and he gets into trouble because of you,” he said.
“Our dream is for a cashless society. It is correct that we cannot achieve it immediately. But India can definitely move towards a less-cash society. Once we start the move towards a less-cash society, the goal of a cashless society will not be far away,” he said.
(With PTI inputs)