NEW DELHI: Hitting back at Rahul Gandhi over his criticism of demonetisation, the BJP said Friday that a war is going on in Indian politics with the Narendra Modi-led government working to curb black money while the Congress president trying to save it.
"Rahul Gandhi's comments were just a pack of lies and he has been speaking from the same script for long. India has been progressing under the Modi Government, while the Gandhi family has been left behind. Demonetisation destroyed the ill-gotten wealth of the four generations of the Gandhi family”, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said.
Earlier the Congress chief had said that demonetisation was a planned "brutal conspiracy" and a "shrewd scheme" to convert the black money of Modi's "suited-booted friends".
“What Gandhi has said is ridiculous and another lie from him", Patra added.
Patra also claimed that the demonetisation move, which had made notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 invalid, led to many benefits, including an increase in tax base, curbing black money and hitting Naxalism.
Earlier Congress chief Rahul Gandhi criticised that rich people in the big car did not stand in a queue to deposit their demonetised notes.
Referring to Gandhi's comments, the BJP leader took a dig, saying the Congress leader himself had stood outside a bank for this.
He added that Income Tax searches had yielded revenue of over Rs 35,000 crore while a law against 'benami' properties had led to a seizure of over Rs 4,300 crore worth of assets.
“Deaths in Naxal violence have come down by 60 per cent in 2017 as compared to 2009, demonetisation is the factor behind it. The maximum number of Maoists had surrendered in a month following the decision”, Patra said.
Earlier Gandhi had called "urban Naxals", a term used by the BJP to refer loosely to those accused of helping Naxals.
“NGO and his party had described them as revolutionaries”, Patra claimed.
While responding to a question about demands of Hindutva bodies and also of some Union ministers that the central government bring a law to pave the way for constructing Ram temple in Ayodhya, he said people have a right to express their opinion.
On 8 November 2016, the Government of India announced the demonetisation of all Rs 500 and Rs 1000 banknotes of the Mahatma Gandhi Series. It also announced the issuance of new Rs 500 and Rs 2000 banknotes in exchange for the demonetised banknotes.
The government claimed that the action would curtail the shadow economy and reduce the use of illicit and counterfeit cash to fund illegal activity and terrorism.
The sudden withdrawal of notes led to a liquidity crunch with serpentine queues seen outside banks and ATMs to exchange old notes.
The effects of demonetisation including its role in culling black money and stemming terrorism and Naxalism as well as its impact on the economy are still being discussed with the opposition slamming the Modi government, terming its decision as "ill-advised" and "disastrous" for the country.
On the second anniversary of demonetisation, top political leaders had expressed their frustration through micro-blogging site ‘Twitter’.
"Darkday, today is the second anniversary of Demonetisation disaster. From the moment it was announced I said so, renowned economists, common people and all experts now agree ", Banerjee had tweeted.
"Today marks the 2nd anniversary of the ill-fated and ill-thought demonetisation exercise that the Narendra Modi government undertook in 2016. The havoc that it unleashed on Indian economy and society is now evident to everyone”, Former PM Manmohan Singh said.
“Though the list of financial scams of Modi government is endless, demonetisation was a self-inflicted a deep wound on Indian economy which even two years later remains a mystery why the country was pushed into such a disaster?” Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal tweeted.
“Modi and his minions claimed demonetisation will end black money, finish corruption, terminate terrorism, and bring only digital transactions. Two years later, Modi is silent. The truth is that he singlehandedly destroyed the economy, lives and livelihoods. Modi has clearly forgotten what he said. It is our duty to remind him of what he did to India and us Indians.” Communist party leader Sitaram Yechury tweeted.
The BJP-led government had defended the move, saying it was necessary to wipe out illegal money stashes.