Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday slammed the central government’s demonetisation decision, saying the decision is “anti-poor”, favours 50 corporate families and is a “firebomb on country’s cash economy”.
Addressing a public rally here, he said: “It’s the colour of the note that decides whether it’s in the hands of an honest or an unscrupulous person.
“There is an honest person on one side, while an unscrupulous person on the other. If the note goes into the hands of unscrupulous people, it becomes black as if under a spell of magic…currency ban is against the honest people.”
Donning a Himachali cap, Gandhi, in his 40-minute speech in Hindi, said the Congress was not against a cashless system but it should not be imposed and it should not be an “excuse”.
“The note ban is a step taken against the poor, farmers and the middle class people,” he said at the rally, marking the completion of four years of the state government led by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh.
Taking a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Gandhi said: “PM Modi, you have divided India into two parts. On one side is one per cent rich and on the other there are middle class, poor people.”
He said Modi is saying the situation after demonetisation would improve in 50 days but “it will not improve for at least seven months”.
“All black money isn’t cash and all cash isn’t black money… And only six per cent of black money in India is in the form of paper money. Rest 94 per cent is in the form of real estate, gold and in foreign banks.”
He said the currency ban has hit this hill state’s mainstay — horticulture, agriculture and tourism sectors — adversely.
Terming the three sectors together as HAT (horticulture, agriculture and tourism), “PM Modi has taken the HAT off the state’s head, just like the BJP governments in Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, snatching away land from the tribal people.”
Questioning the Prime Minister on bringing back Indian money in foreign banks, Gandhi asked why he did not table the list of Swiss bank account holders in Parliament if his government was really sincere about its stand against black money and corruption.
Gandhi, who took part in a Himachali dance before the rally, said the corporate houses who are close to Modi are travelling with him to the US and getting maximum defence contracts and building palatial bungalows.
“The thieves (hoarders of black money) are intelligent and spend as little money as possible. They don’t keep the money in cash. Those, who stashed huge sum of black money, don’t do it only in cash but in real estate, jewellery and other forms.”
Replying to Modi’s barb that the Congress’s young leader is learning to deliver speeches, Gandhi said: “When I ask questions, PM Modi mocks at me. He can continue to do so, but I just want my questions answered.”
The BJP, he said, gave ‘laddoos’ to people of Delhi standing in queues outside banks and ATMs.
“For a common man a ‘laddoo’ costs Rs 3 or Rs 5 and to Vijay Mallya, the government gave a ‘laddoo’ of Rs 1,200 crore,” Gandhi added.