Modi’s black-money jibe at Opposition roils Parliament

NEW DELHI (TIP): The political thrust and parry over the demonetization of high-value currency notes intensified on November 25 with Prime Minister Narendra Modi using the Constitution Day event to take on the Opposition for criticising the implementation of the plan.

“Some people are saying the government did not make ample preparation. I think the pain of such people is that the government did not give them a chance to make any preparation,” Modi said. “If these people had been given 72 hours to make their preparation, they would have lavished praise that there is no one like Modi,” he added.

His predecessor, Manmohan Singh, had said on November 24 that the implementation of the demonetization plan was marked by “monumental mismanagement”.

Modi said that in the country’s battle against corruption and black money, the ordinary citizen is the “foot soldier”.

“I received details about municipal corporations in some cities,” Modi added. “Earlier, they used to get Rs 3,000-3,500 crore as tax; but after November 8, they have collected Rs 13,000 crore as tax! This money will be used for development, like construction of roads and electricity supply,” he noted.

Modi’s remarks stirred up the Opposition yet again. Members of almost all the Opposition parties trooped to the well of the Rajya Sabha demanding an apology from him.

Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said that although the Opposition had made it abundantly clear that it was not against the objectives of the scheme, Modi continues to make allegations to avoid a parliamentary debate on the issue.

“How can the Prime Minister level such an allegation? We are against black money. The Prime Minister must apologize,” Azad said.

For the seventh day of the Winter Session, the Lok Sabha was in turmoil, with the Opposition parties demanding the Prime Minister’s presence in the House for a debate on demonetisation and an apology from him for his jibe at them.

Opposition members raised slogans asking Modi to make his statements inside the House.

As the House met, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said: “The issue now is not our demand for an adjournment motion, but the remarks of the Prime Minister… He said the Opposition supports black money.”