Modi’s currency barb at critics sparks Oppn fury
HOUSE STALLED Angry MPs seek apology for PM questioning their integrity
Prime Minister Narendra Modi fired a fresh salvo at the Opposition, saying some people are upset because they did not get time to “prepare” before the government scrapped high-value banknotes. Modi’s comments gave opposition parties another handle to target the government and stall Parliament for the seventh straight day, as they sought an apology from him for questioning their integrity.
The PM’s choice of venue — Parliament annexe — also rankled with the Opposition, which has been demanding his clarification in the House on the demonetisation of Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes, a surprise move that has left millions of people lining up at banks and ATM kiosks.
Also on Friday, the SC decided to hear on December 2 a clutch of petitions to look at the “constitutional validity of the decision” and the “inconvenience caused to people”. The court will also take up the Centre’s plea seeking transfer of all cases filed in various high courts to the top court. On his part, Modi maintained the decision to scrap the existing high denomination notes will work to the benefit of the people.
“The government’s decision is being criticised by a few for not being prepared. Actually, they are perturbed that they were caught unawares. If they had been given 72 hours, they would have said there is no one else like Modi,” the PM said, at a function to commemorate the Constitution. Several BJP leaders and Opposition lawmakers were in the audience. “Everyone has the right to his money. You have a right to every pie. But, why must it be currency notes?” he said in response to criticism that the government was denying people the right to their own money.
The PM’s attack came a day after his predecessor Manmohan Singh described the demonetisation as “organised loot” that could impact India’s economic growth. He accused the Centre of “monumental mismanagement” in implementing the currency switch.