Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched a scathing attack on detractors of the demonetisation move, especially the Congress, saying those involved in mega scams were now standing in queues to exchange Rs 4,000 and announcing that more anti-graft measures were on the anvil including action against “benaami property.”
“This government does not want to bother honest people but doesn’t want to spare the dishonest. Bear with me for 50 days. Has India been looted or not? ….. I am not going to stop at this. I will expose the history of corruption of 70 years since Independence,” Modi said. “This (demonetisation) is not an end. I have more projects in mind to make India corruption-free. …. We will take action against ‘benami’ property. This is major step to eradicate corruption and black money … If any money that was looted in India and has left Indian shores, it is our duty to find out about it,” he said in his speeches, both at Panaji in Goa and Belagavi in Karnataka.
Modi, who got emotional while addressing a function at Panaji over the problems being faced by the people and the long queues in banks, urged them to bear with him till December 30, saying “I will give you the India you desired”. He stressed the need to go cashless and adopt plastic money.
Making a combative but emotional speech, he said he was ready to face the consequences of his moves as certain forces are “up against me” as their 70 years of loot was now in trouble as a result of demonetisation. “I know that (some) forces are up against me, they may not let me live, they may ruin me because their loot of 70 years is in trouble, but I am prepared,” Modi said in the speech which saw him getting emotional a few times.
Hitting out at the erstwhile UPA government for not fighting corruption, Modi said “those who were involved in the coal scam, 2G scam and other scams, now have to stand in queues to exchange Rs 4000.
“When Congress stopped 25 paise, did we say anything? You could dare to stop only 25 paise, that’s what your power was limited to. But you did not make higher denomination currency notes illegal. … We did it. People have chosen a government and they expect so much from it.”
He said the people had voted against corruption in 2014. “I am doing what I was asked to do by the people of this country. This had become clear from the very first meeting of my Cabinet when I formed the SIT (on blackmoney). We never kept the people in dark.”
“Soon after assuming power, a Supreme Court monitored Special Investigation Team was formed to investigate the black money parked outside the country. Previous governments neglected this; Did I hide anything? We took a key step to help the honest citizens defeat the menace of graft.
“We collected Rs 67,000 crore under amnesty scheme. But in the last two years, through raids, surveys and declarations, the government has collected Rs 1,25,000 crore in its exchequer … I kept on administering small doses of medicine to improve the economic situation of the country since I came to power,” Modi said, referring to the Jan Dhan scheme aimed at financial inclusion.
Revealing the efforts behind the demonetisation move, the Prime Minister said it was “a secret operation I started 10 months back and had formed a small team. “The secret operation was of course not the one like (Defence Minister Manohar) Parrikar had launched (surgical strike in PoK). We had to print new currency notes and take other steps in secret”, otherwise the corrupt would have found other ways to deal with the situation.
Stressing the need to go cashless in transactions, he said “there is a talk about a cashless society and we should shift to plastic money. That’s why we have removed all taxes from debit and credit cards in the budget.”
He also asked to the people not to panic “by bartering Rs 500 for Rs 300” and get the full value of their hard-earned money. “There is pain due to demonetisation but more to gain.” Appealing to the people to bear with him for 50 days (till December 30), he said “if you find anything wrong with my intentions or my actions, hang me in public. I promise you I will give you the India which you desired. If someone faces problem, I also feel the pain. I understand their problem but this is only for 50 days and after 50 days we succeed in this cleansing.”
“I am not born to occupy the high chair. I have left my village, my family for the sake of the country,” Modi said. Observing that the entire population, barring a few lakh of corrupt people, were working to make this move sucessful, he said on the night of November eight when he had announced the demonetisation plan, “crores of people slept peacefully, but a few lakh (corrupt) were going to buy sleeping pills as they had lost their sleep.”
“You’ll be shocked to know that many MPs asked me not to make PAN mandatory for any purchase of jewellery,” he said, adding “today those who never used to take care of their widowed mother, are depositing Rs 2.5 lakh in her account.” “There are few who even dared to give me in writing (asking to relax it). The day I make their letters public, they will not be able to go to their constituencies,” he said.