Modi’s cur­rency barb at crit­ics sparks Oppn fury

HOUSE STALLED An­gry MPs seek apol­ogy for PM ques­tion­ing their in­tegrity

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Saub­hadra Chat­terji saub­hadra.chat­terji@hin­dus­tan­times.com

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.

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