Demonetisation helped PM Modi’s ‘crony capitalist’ friends: Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi said the Prime Minister owed an explanation on why he “inflicted such a deep wound” to the people at a time when the country was facing pressing problems such as unemployment and low growth rate in the GDP.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday termed demonetisation the country’s “biggest scam” and accused the Prime Minister of, through it, helping his “15-20 biggest crony capitalist friends” whose loans had turned into non-performing assets (NPAs).
His statement came a day after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) confirmed 99.3% of demonetised currency returned to it.
Addressing a news conference at the Congress headquarters in Delhi, Gandhi said the Prime Minister owed an explanation on why he “inflicted such a deep wound” to the people at a time when the country was facing pressing problems such as unemployment and low growth rate in the GDP (Gross Domestic Product).
“Why did he do it? His 15-20 big industrialist friends had accumulated NPAs worth thousands of crore. So, through demonetisation the money was taken out of the peoples’ pockets and put directly in the pockets of the country’s biggest crony capitalists,” he alleged.
The Bharatiya Janata Party responded immediately and strongly. “Rahul Gandhi is taking the names of 15 industrialists. Name one of them who became rich after 2014. Repeating old things will not change the reality,” party spokesperson Sambit Patra told journalists.
Demonetisation saw people queue up to deposit their invalidated bank notes in their bank accounts. In its latest annual report released on Wednesday, RBI said as much as 99.3% of the junked banknotes by value, or Rs 15.3 lakh crore, had returned to the banking system. The Prime Minister had rendered invalid Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes worth Rs 15.44 lakh crore by value from the midnight of November 8-9, 2016.
But Gandhi said none of the stated objectives like elimination of black money and fake currency, abolition of corruption and curbing terrorism were achieved. “Maximum surrender by Maoists happed after demonetization and Rahul Gandhi is calling it a wrong decision,” countered Patra.
In a scathing attack against the Prime Minister, Gandhi said demonetisation was not a mistake but a deliberate strike on the people, and on small and medium businesses.
“Demonetisation was not a mistake. It was an attack on you. You were attacked with an axe. Do not be under any illusion. It was not a mistake,” Gandhi said.
“… A cooperative bank in Gujarat whose Director is (BJP president) Amit Shah, exchanged Rs 700 crore after demonetisation,” he added. Taking a jibe at Modi, Gandhi said he rightly claims that what he has achieved in the past four years was not done in 70 years. “Indeed, Prime Minister Modi did what had not been done in the last 70 years… He did it and devastated the economy.”