Modi takes jibe at Rahul on demonetisation

Belagavi: Taking on the Congress on the Centre’s step to weed out black money, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today took an oblique dig at Rahul Gandhi who had stood in a queue to exchange demonetised currency notes for the new ones.

“On the night of November 8, at 8 o’clock, did you see (what happened)? In 2012, 2013, 2014, newspapers were filled with news about lots of money being eaten up in scams such as coal and 2G. But, after November 8, their position was such that they had to stand in a line for Rs 4,000,” he said.

Two days after the decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes was announced, Gandhi had made an appearance at SBI’s Parliament House branch in New Delhi to exchange demonetised notes for new ones, and hit out at Modi saying he would not understand the problems people were facing due to the Centre’s move to demonetise high-value currency notes.

“People are facing hardships. That is why I have come to join them. I am here to exchange my Rs 4,000 for new notes,” the Congress vice-president had said as he waited for his turn in the queue.

In a scathing attack on the Congress, Modi said the party “did not have the strength to touch high-value currency” during its rule and asserted that the “clean-up” was required as “a lot had been looted in the last 70 years”.

“I am surprised that the Congress is asking why did I stop (the circulation of) Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 currency notes. When you stopped the 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,” the prime minister said as he took on the Congress which has been critical of the Centre’s demonetisation move.

“You had also agreed to stop (black money), but you did not have the strength to stop the big notes. You wanted to run the vehicle by stopping 25 paise,” he said.

Modi, who was speaking at the centenary celebrations of the Karnataka Lingayat Education Society here, said his government did not want to trouble the honest, but would not spare the dishonest as he defended the fight against black money and promised more steps to tackle the menace.