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Demonetisation a ‘firebombing’ on cash economy, poor: Rahul

Dharamsala (HP): Escalating the attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over demonetisation, Rahul Gandhi today accused him of dividing the country between the rich and the poor and dubbed the move as “firebombing” on cash economy and farmers and labourers.

Addressing a public rally here, the Congress Vice President said the Prime Minister with his note ban decision has removed the “hat” of Himachal Pradesh as it has hit hard the state’s horticulture, agriculture and tourism sectors.

“Himachal’s brave soldiers carried out the surgical strikes, but Modiji thought of launching a new drama. He launched the surgical strike on corruption.

“On one side the brave give away their blood and life, but here he did surgical strike on black money and corruption. Modiji this is not a surgical strike on black money and corruption. This is a firebombing and economic-bombing on the poor, farmers and labourers,” he said.

Accusing Modi of dividing the country between the rich and the poor, Gandhi said, “Modiji you have tried to divide India into two parts.”

“On one side are the one per cent rich comprising 50 families who have private aircraft and big buildings and on other side, there are 99 per cent honest people of India — the farmers, labourers and the middle class who built this country with their sweat and blood. You tried to divide the people of the country,” he said.

He said that in the Second World War, a new way was evolved to do firebombing in 25 minutes and more people died in Tokyo firebombing than in Hiroshima bombing.

“The same way Modiji has done firebombing on the poor, farmers and labourers. You have done firebombing on India’s cash economy. Not on 94 per cent of black money where it was to be done. Not on one per cent people possessing black money, but on 99 per cent poor people of the country,” he said.

Showing the traditional Himachali cap, Gandhi accused Modi of putting it down and destroying it. “Modiji you have removed the Himachal’s ‘hat’ through the note ban — horticulture, agriculture and tourism. Note ban has caused a major dent on horticulture, agriculture and tourism. You have burnt the fields of honest Himachal farmers, and you did so with a smile on your face.

“This note ban step was against all of you, against the honest people of India. In two-and-a-half years, the Modi government has attacked the poor of the country,” he told the crowd.

Besides Gandhi, the Congress rally was addressed by Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and other state leaders. Himachal Pradesh goes to Assembly polls in the latter part of 2017.

Gandhi said the colour of a banknote is decided by whether it is in the hands of the honest or the dishonest.

“A note has no colour. There is an honest person on one side and a dishonest one on the other. If the note goes into the hands of the dishonest person like Mallya, it turns black as if under a spell of magic,” he said, referring to now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines promoter Vijay Mallya.

Gandhi said the Prime Minister has given Rs 3 ‘laddoo’ to the poor people, but has given away a Rs 1,200 crore ‘laddoo’ to Vijay Mallya, who is accused of “running” away from the country after defaulting on his loans worth thousands of crores of rupees.

The Congress Vice President wondered why Modi chose to target the 99 per cent honest people and not the one per cent who possess all the black money, as also on six per cent black money which is in cash and not the 94 per cent in gold, real estate and foreign banks including Swiss banks.

“All black money is not in cash and all cash is not black. The one per cent people who own black money keep their thousands of crores in real estate, big buildings, gold and Swiss bank accounts.

“There is only six per cent black money in cash in India. The rest of 94 per cent black money is in real estate, gold and in foreign banks. Those who stash huge sum of black money, don’t do it only in cash but in real estates, jewellery and other forms,” he said.

Gandhi said this is the reason why Modi did not target the one per cent rich and he chose to target the 99 per cent people.

“Modiji knows where the black money is stashed… It is with those who travel with Modiji to America. These are the same people who get all the defence contracts. These are the same people who have thousands of crores worth of land and those whose houses are worth Rs 3-4-5-6 thousand crore,” he said.

Gandhi also accused Modi of snatching away land of tribal people in Himachal Pradesh the same way BJP governments in Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh had done.