Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has clearly upped the ante in the ‘battle’ over demonetisation, claiming he has ‘personal information about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s corruption’. While Rahul is waiting for an opportune moment to release the information and did not release any details, the BJP hit back at him saying Rahul Gandhi was making a joke of himself.
Since the Parliament is not functioning with the Opposition adamant on PM Modi’s presence during the debate, Rahul made these charges outside the House. He said the Opposition is unconditionally ready for a debate in Parliament over the government’s November 8 decision which scrapped the use of high value currency notes, and that the government was not allowing him to speak.
This is for the first time in the last two years that the Opposition has launched a personal attack against the PM. Only time will tell whether it is a hit job by Rahul Gandhi or he actually has evidence to link the PM to corruption. But for now, the Congress seems to have unnerved the government.
Incidentally, this has come a day after Union Minister Kiren Rijiju’s name cropped up in a Arunachal hydro project scandal. Though BJP defended Rijiju, saying the Minister ‘is clean and the scam happened during the tenure of the Congress’, the CVO report has already become fodder for Opposition to take on the government.
Also, Rahul seems to have the backing of the rest of the Opposition as most other parties were represented at his press conference. The Trinamool Congress was seen to be leading the Opposition onslaught against the government ever since the demonetisation scheme came into effect, but the Congress may have just found a strategy to corner the government on its own.
The Winter Session of Parliament will end on December 16 but Narendra Modi has not spoken in the House over demonetisation. The PM has put forward an impassioned defence of the scheme outside the Parliament, but the debate inside the House has not moved forward. Both camps blame each other of stalling the proceedings in Parliament. Amid this charge and counter charge, it is difficult to gauge which side is the obstructionist here.
However, there is no doubting the fact that Congress is going aggressive now. The danger for the Opposition is if it fails to produce anything serious despite all this hype, that might show very poorly on Rahul as well as the Congress, both of whom don’t seem to be doing all that well politically at the moment.