Panaji: Mounting a blistering attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi today said the demonetisation drive launched by him was “firebombing of 99 per cent honest people” and not a “surgical strike”.
The Congress vice president, however, did not speak about “personal corruption of the PM” he had threatened to reveal recently.
The attack came within hours of Modi accusing the Congress of putting self-interest above the country and sought to paint it as a votary of corruption at a BJP Parliamentary Party meeting in Delhi.
“Narendra Modi got up on November 8 and announced that the money which is in your pocket has now turned into mere paper. This not a surgical strike on black money but it is firebombing of the 99 per cent of honest people of India,” Rahul said addressing a rally at Fatorda near here.
Rahul said demonetisation was akin to 200-300 aircraft “firebombing” cities during the world war II, destroying them completely within 25 minutes.
“The impact of firebombing was far worse than the atom bomb. Narendra Modi has done similar firebombing through demonetisation and burnt entire India,” he said.
He said, “As Modi did not allow me to speak in Parliament, I am speaking at this public meeting.”
The Congress leader claimed the Prime Minister did not take into confidence even the Finance Minister while going for demonetisation of high-value currency notes.
“Demonetisation is not an action against black money, but against 99 per cent of the honest people of India. This is an attack against poor people of India,” he said.
Accusing Modi of “dividing” India into two parts, Rahul said, “One per cent (is of) super rich and the other 99 per cent honest Indians including common people, workers, farmers, small-time businessmen and the middle class. In the last two-and-a-half years, one per cent super rich have amassed 60 per cent of the wealth.”
He said total 50 Indian families have the maximum wealth of the country. “These are the people who travel with PM to Australia, America and China to strike big business deals,” he said, adding people know who he was referring to.
Rahul said as the Congress wanted to eradicate corruption from the country, the party will give “complete support to BJP if it takes even a small step to curb it.”
“All cash is not black money and all black money is not cash. The black money is with these 50 super rich families and not with 99 per cent honest Indians…and these families don’t keep their black money in cash. They invest it in real estate, gold or park it in the bank accounts abroad,” Rahul said.
“If you look at the entire projection of black money, only six per cent is in cash while 94 per cent is in real estate, gold or (is) parked outside country. Modiji knows this very well,” he said.
Rahul recalled Modi did not speak about “cash in country” in the run up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, but had promised to bring back black money stashed abroad and deposit Rs 15 lakh in the bank account of each citizen.
“How many people have got Rs 15 lakh in their bank account? How many people Modi has jailed for holding black money?” he asked, alleging the PM allowed people like Lalit Modi and Vijay Mallya to escape from India.
The Congress leader said the Switzerland government has already given the list of Indians holding bank accounts in that country to the Central government.
“But Modi has refused to table the list on the floor of the House till now. Put it before the House. Why have you not done it in the last two-and-half years?,” he asked.
Continuing his diatribe, Rahul said the PM thought about demonetisation “when he realised that super rich people, who had borrowed money from banks have not repaid it, leaving banks on the verge of closure. He (PM) has started a new drama in the name of surgical strike against corruption.”
Rahul said demonetisation has destroyed several industries and people dependent on them.
“Modi has burnt the houses of people dependent on tourism and fishery in Goa, automobile industry in Pune, cycle and sports industry in Punjab, carpet industry in Mirzapur and leather industry in Kanpur,” the Congress leader said.
In his speech, he referred to one Lakshmi from Bengaluru, saying after demonetisation the same woman, who used to sell flowers, is now begging on the streets.
Terming Modi as a super planner, Rahul said, “Modi makes super event and makes proper planning. Modi kept on changing rules after demonetisation and stopped printing adequate notes so that the common people are not allowed to withdraw their money from banks.”