NEW DELHI: The Centre has decided to go aggressive as it fielded many senior ministers on Thursday to counter the Opposition charge on demonetisation. Highly placed sources in the BJP said that ministers and party lawmakers will be present in different parts of the country to reach out to people on December 31 as the first phase of the drive against black money will come to an end.
The BJP also warned the Congress of legal action over its “baseless and untrue” allegations that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah have links with Gujarat businessman Mahesh Shah, who is being probed for declaring unaccounted income of Rs 13,860 crore.
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad rejected Congress’ charge against Amit Shah, who is one of the directors of a Gujarat bank in which deposits of over Rs 500 crore were made and asserted that the bank has over 200 branches and it will give an explanation on the matter.
“We want to make it clear that our Prime Minister and party president have no links whatsoever with Mahesh Sharma, against whom action is going on. If the Congress has any proof, it should talk about it. Otherwise, we will consider taking legal action under the law dealing with levelling of baseless allegations,” Prasad said.
Prasad was accompanied by Power Minister Piyush Goyal. Goyal refuted the allegations that crores of rupees have been sent to the BJP office in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh. “We are getting indication for an historic support for BJP in UP,” he said, claiming that people have supported note ban despite hardships.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley mainly spoke on the benefits of demonetisation. He said that tax and revenue collections have gone up showing clear results of the demonetisation.
“A large portion of the currency wiped out by the notes ban has already been replaced and the Reserve Bank has adequate new currency and would release 500 rupee notes to remonetise…The people have supported this move significantly, and not a single incident of any form of unrest has been reported in the country since the notes ban,” Jaitley said.
Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu accused the Congress of trying to “tar” the government’s image by calling demonetisation a scam. He said the notes ban move was an “anti-scam vaccine” but the opposition party is rattled at the prospect of the government going after illegal money.
Naidu said contrary to perceptions, Rabi sowing increased by 6.37%, the number of foreign tourist arrivals up by 9.3% and foreign exchange earnings up by 14.4% this year.