Pummelling the Congress and other parties which are opposing demonetisation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the corrupt were upset while the poor were “enjoying a sound sleep” after his decision and urged people to bear some inconvenience to root out graft. “After demonetisation, the poor are enjoying a sound sleep while rich are running from pillar to post to buy sleeping pills,” Modi said as he tried to rally public support in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, picking up from where he left yesterday in his speeches laced with emotion and aggression in Goa and Belagavi.
Stating that he understood the inconvenience being faced by people due to demonetisation, Modi compared his action to a new whitewash which gives out pungent smell, but is necessary. “My decision is a little harsh. When I was young, poor people used to ask for ‘kadak’ (strong) tea but it spoils the mood of rich,” he said at BJP’s Parivartan Yatra rally in Ghazipur.
Particularly stinging in his criticism of Congress which has accused him of causing harassment to the common people, the PM recalled that Congress governments had imposed Emergency, stifling rights of the people and the media, and had banned ‘chavanni’ (25 paise coins).
“Under which law did they ban ‘chavanni’, it is another thing that they could not move beyond ‘chavanni’ … you took the step as per your stature and we did what matched ours,” he said taking a swipe at the opposition party. Invoking Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister said he purposely chose his birth anniversary for the visit here to launch projects.
“You (Nehru) are no more, leaders from your party and your family are levelling false allegations, still on your birthday I am starting work to complete your unfulfilled desire for the development of people,” Modi said.
“Nobody would have offered a tribute which an MP from Uttar Pradesh is giving,” Modi, who represents Varanasi Lok Sabha seat, said, adding those who did not work towards fulfilling Pandit Nehru’s dream should be exposed. Accusing opposition leaders of misleading people, he asked whether corruption and dishonesty should be allowed in the country.
“Don’t mislead people…I want to ask Congressmen who claim people are facing problems how you turned the entire country into a jail for 19 months by imposing emergency,” he said, adding it was done only to save the seat of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi after the Allahabad High Court verdict against her, and not out of any concern for the poor.
He said there was no dearth of money for development, but the fact was that money was stashed away somewhere else and not where it should have been. The Prime Minister said he knew he was up against the powerful but vowed to continue his “fight for the poor, farmers and villagers”.
“I know what all I will have to bear as those who have their coffers full are very strong people…they have the strength to buy governments. They have the power to topple and can spoil the future (of anyone) but should I be afraid of such people?
“Should I shun the path of honesty and run away…it is with your blessings that I have taken up such a big fight,” he said. Defending the decision on demonetisation, Modi said the menace of fake currency could not have been checked if such a big offensive was not initiated.