PRIME MINISTER Narendra Modi on Tuesday asked his party ministers and MPs to submit their bank account statements for the period from November 8 to December 31, to party chief Amit Shah by January 1 next year.
Dismissing Modi’s direction at the BJP parliamentary party meeting as “yet another jumla”, the Congress called it an attempt to evade questions about the funds deposited in the accounts of the BJP’s central and local units and the RSS in the last one year. Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala said it was being done to divert attention from reports that the BJP and RSS had bought properties worth crores across the country before the demonetisation decision was announced on November 8.
AAP’s Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted that bank details of “6 months before Nov 8” should be sought. In a video message, he said account details of all party MPs and MLAs, spanning over five years, should be probed by a committee of eminent people.
“Why only account details from Nov 8? Just 3 weeks. Why not last 2 1/2 years, all details? PM ji you think you alone are intelligent… and the rest are… ? After your 21 days of note bandi, the whole country is ghar bandi, so why this farce,” tweeted West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Meanwhile, addressing his party’s MPs today, Modi said he would not let the country be “crushed” under black money and would ensure that the “poor get that money”. He told the MPs that the aim of the demonetisation exercise was not to “convert black money into white, but to convert black money into pro-poor money.”
“Hum desh ko noton ki gaddiyon ke neeche nahin dabne denge. Jitne note nikalte aayenge, utne note daba denge (I will not let the country be crushed under the stack of notes. All the notes that come out will be removed from the system),” Modi was quoted as saying by a BJP source.
Modi’s remarks were seen as an attempt to blunt the Opposition’s charge that the amendments brought by the government to the taxation laws, passed by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, would turn black money into white.
With the Prime Minister and the government shifting the narrative of the demonetisation decision from a fight against black money and fake currency to a transition into a cashless economy, Modi asked his party MPs to use the coming week to campaign for digital economy.
Party MPs who attended the meeting said Modi asked them to go to “panchayats, municipalities and corporations in their respective constituencies and train all small traders to use mobile banking, net banking and other tools of digital banking”.
“He asked us to go to them and teach them how to use digital tools and educate them about digital economy by next Monday,” said an MP.
Recalling that he had promised to bring back black money and impose 200 per cent penalty, Modi, according to sources, said all penalties and surcharges imposed in the new Bill would add up to 200 per cent of the unaccounted money.
Party sources said Modi told the MPs that the black money that will be unearthed would go to the poor as “it belongs to the poor… the rich had looted the poor and collected the money.” He said the funds would be channelled into different schemes under the Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Yojana.
Party chief Amit Shah also warned MPs that the “disinformation” campaign against demonetisation in rural areas would hurt the party’s prospects.
Meanwhile, some MPs expressed apprehension that their bank account details could be misused, as there is no assurance on confidentiality and it could be “too much intrusion into privacy.”