Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi on Friday called demonetisation of Rs 500 and 1,000 notes the biggest scam in India’s history and insisted that “an earthquake” will occur if he was allowed to speak on the issue in Parliament.
The statement came a day after the Congress gave up its insistence on a discussion over the move under a rule which entails voting amid Rahul’s keenness to speak in the House. The party had persuaded other opposition parties as well.
Watch What Else is Making News
Rahul said he had come prepared to speak on Friday. But the government demanded that the Congress first apologise for stalling Parliament for 16 days. The insistence led to an uproar and adjournment of the House.
Rahul later told the media, “We are seeking a discussion for a month. We wanted the government to debate inside the House. Everything would have become clear. Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) gives speeches all over the country but is scared of coming to Lok Sabha…(he is) not ready to sit in Lok Sabha. What is the reason? Why is he afraid.’’
Rahul said that Modi first spoke about black money, then counterfeit cash before moving to cashless economy as the reason for demonetising Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. “Come to the House; talk to us. We both will speak and the country will get to know everything,’’ he said. “What is demonetisation? Who is benefiting from it? Who is being helped? Who is suffering losses and why was it done?’’ He added that he will say everything inside Parliament and Modi will not be able to sit there.
The Amethi MP also claimed that he was being stopped from speaking. “The government had told us they would let us speak today…and it ran away. That is the reality…’’ He added that he wanted to talk about the biggest scam “committed by Narendra Modi single-handedly’’ and what is behind it.
Union minister Smriti Irani hit back, saying, “Rahulji thinks too highly about his oratory skills. He knows how much his speeches appeal…. As far as tremors are concerned, I think when he speaks, there are tremors within the Congress, not outside.”
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the country expected Rahul and the Opposition to be prepared for the debate on November 16. “If Rahul Gandhi thinks that December 9 is the first day of this session in Parliament, then he is mistaken,’’ Kumar said. “Today suddenly Rahul Gandhi came prepared and the Opposition felt that all other business should be suspended and he be allowed to speak,’’ the minister said. “That is the way the Congress party can run, not Parliament of India. Democracy does not function that way.’’
Referring to Rahul’s statement about the earth shaking with his revelations on trhe demonetisation exercise, the minister said that not revealing it for so long was incorrect. “He should have spoken on the first day of the session on November 16,” Kumar said.