February 7, 2017 7:54:59 pm
Demonetisation was the central issue as Prime Minister Narendra Modi exchanged blows with Opposition BSP, Congress and Samajwadi Party on Tuesday, juist few days ahead of the first phase of polling in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave an hour-long speech in Parliament, his first in the House after demonetisation. Later in the day, he was countered by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor. In another election rally in Meerut, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav had attacked PM Modi on demonetisation and PM’s SCAM acronym jibe.
PM replied to the discussion on motion of thanks to the President’s address on February 1. PM Modi said, “There are many people here like me who were born after independence, we were not lucky to fight in the freedom struggle, but we are living and working for India.”
In his marathon speech, Modi spoke on a variety of issues focusing on demonetisation and asserting that the BJP doesn’t look at issues from the prism of elections. “We were always ready for a debate on demonetisation…you (Opposition) were more interested in giving TV bytes than engage in a debate,” PM Modi said. PM Modi defended his move to scrap old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, saying that the decision was taken at the right time as the economy was doing well. “When can you have an operation? When the body is healthy. The economy was doing well and thus our decision was taken at the right time,” he said.
He took on the Congress on remonetisation, digital/less cash/cashless economy and benami property legislation. Modi said: “In 1988 when Rajiv Gandhi was prime minister, he had more majority in both Houses than Pandit Nehru. The Congress was everywhere from panchayat to Parliament. A bill was made to tackle benami property but it was never notified. Why, all these 26 years, the bill was never notified?”
Later in Lok Sabha, Shashi Tharoor, in his trademark eloquence, slammed the government over demonetisation, highlighting the problems people faced including cash shortage, deaths in queues, farmer suicides, cash shortage during wedding season, mismanagement in remonetisation, printing defects in new currency, unanticipated logistical challenges, alleged chances for people to exchange fake notes with new currency at overworked banks etc.
Denouncing demonetisation, Tharoor said that there was no positive effect of demonetisation on the economy. “It (demonetisation) has only added to corruption,” adding that “the government is presenting a wrong pictures of the economy to the people as the RBI itself has stated that no positive impact has taken place after demonetisation.”
Tharoor said, “We have just heard his speech. Today on this demonetisation, we are again getting an opportunity to speak. Because the Ordinance which the government had promulgated, they have now brought a Bill. We will answer on this,” Tharoor said.
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