LUCKNOW : Demonetisation took centre-stage in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh on Monday as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi hit out at each other over the note ban that has caused an unprecedented cash crunch. If the high voltage battle saw Modi invoking late PM Rajiv Gandhi to take on the Congress over its anti-note ban stand, Rahul likened the currency ban to “firebombing”, claiming it had taken the blood out of the veins of 99 per cent of the people.
In Kanpur, Modi said demonetisation is a step to promote digital transactions to check black money. Taking on the Opposition and accusing it of “misguiding people” over cashless transactions, Modi said that while on one hand they claimed that Rajiv brought about the telecom revolution, on the other they contradict themselves by saying that their countrymen don’t have means for cashless transactions.
Modi said history would not remember which PM enforced demonetisation but it would certainly recall how the people fought a war on black money. He reminded the people his government had sought 50 days to enforce demonetisation. He assured them the situation would be normal after that. “It seems the country is divided into two parts today. On one side, there are a few who are opposing demonetisation, on the other there is the whole country supporting the war on black money,” he said.
In Jaunpur, Rahul said demonetisation was not a fight against the corrupt but against poor, farmers and under-privileged. “The Prime Minister has made 99 per cent people of this country bleed and suffer,” he said while addressing the Jan Akrosh Rally. He said Modi has diverted 60 per cent of the country’s wealth to one per cent of its population. “A handful of families, say 50, hold majority of this 60 per cent wealth,” claimed Rahul, adding that Modi has taken this step to help those 50 families as they owed a lot to the banks.
Accusing the PM of protecting his ‘capitalist friends,’ Rahul said: “These industrialists have borrowed `8 lakh crore from banks. Now, Modiji will bail out these friends, who have funded him.” He said the PM had already waived `1,10,000 crore for these industrialists. “If your money stays in the bank, it will help banks bear the losses of this `8 lakh crore that the 50 families have taken.”
He also said all cash was not black money and black money was not in cash. “A farmer doesn’t buy seeds with black money. A labourer is paid his daily wage in cash, it is not black money,” he said, adding that those who possessed black money had kept it either in Swiss banks or invested it in land and gold.