The Hindu Business Line

Modi labels Congress a ‘votary of corruption’

- RV MOORTHY

The winter session washout on Friday concluded with Prime Minister Narendra Modi labelling the Opposition’s belligeren­ce against demonetisa­tion as a support for black money and corruption.

The PM was acidic in his attack on the Congress and his predecesso­r Manmohan Singh, accusing them of institutio­nalising corruption and placing partisan interests over national interest.

Praises Nitish, Naveen

In a televised addressed to the MPs in a meeting of the BJP’s parliament­ary party, the PM individual­ly attacked the Congress, the Left parties and others, while praising Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik for their support for demonetisa­tion.

Modi recalled former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s reported refusal to adopt demonetisa­tion because she was more interested in winning elections than wiping out corruption.

Noting that the Wanchoo Committee in 1971 had recommende­d demonetisa­tion, Modi cited a book to say that when the then Finance Minister YB Chavan went to Indira Gandhi supporting the move, she asked: “Only one question. Are no elections to be fought by the Congress party?”

“Tell me,” Modi wondered, “Is the party bigger or the country?” Painting Congress as a votary of corruption, he said it had made a law against benami assets in 1988 but never notified it or framed rules and regulation­s, ensuring that the legislatio­n never came into force.

Targets Manmohan

Modi specifical­ly attacked Manmohan Singh, who has called demonetisa­tion “organised plunder and legalised loot”.

Modi quoted his comments made in 1991 to say that he once used “language of threat” against tax evaders but his voice has completely changed now.

“Why? Because he is worried about his party not country,” Modi said of Singh. The PM also cited the Supreme Court’s observatio­ns against the erstwhile UPA government over lack of action against black money. “In our country, ruckus in Parliament or not letting it function had happened earlier too. It was a little longer this time. But there is an essential difference. Earlier, ruckus and disruption­s happened because of massive scams and graft, when the Opposition would unite and fight on the principle of honesty.

“This is the first time when treasury benches have taken a step against corruption and many in the Opposition have come together to support the dishonest. Political values have fallen so much that opposition parties are brazenly speaking in favour of the dishonest, something that used to be done secretivel­y earlier,” he said. Amid reports that continuing hardships faced by the masses in withdrawin­g money from banks and ATMs have dented the early public support for the measure, Modi told party leaders that they have to fight to rid the country of corruption and black money with confidence.

He asked them to popularise the Centre’s thrust on digital transactio­ns as a “way of life”, saying those who are aware of the exercise should be made to use it.

 ??  ?? (From left) Home Minister Rajnath Singh, PM Narendra Modi, Party President Amit Shah, Senior Leader LK Advani, and Urban Developmen­t Minister Venkaiah Naidu, at the BJP Parliament­ary Party meeting
(From left) Home Minister Rajnath Singh, PM Narendra Modi, Party President Amit Shah, Senior Leader LK Advani, and Urban Developmen­t Minister Venkaiah Naidu, at the BJP Parliament­ary Party meeting

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