Launching a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Opposition parties on Wednesday alleged selective leak of information on demonetisation of 500 and 1000 rupee notes to ‘friends of BJP’ and demanded making public the names of those who had bought gold and foreign exchange of over Rs one crore since April.
Initiating a debate after listed business was suspended to take up a discussion on the 8 November decision to withdraw old higher denomination currency, Anand Sharma (Cong) used wit and humour to attack Modi for being insensitive to problems caused to the common man.
He asked the Prime Minister to state where he got Rs 23,000-24,000 crore, estimated by the International Money Watch Group, for his Lok Sabha elections. He also asked if cheque or credit card payments were made to organise his rally in Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh a few days ago.
Alleging that the information on demonetisation was selectively leaked, he said, “your BJP units have deposited crores (just before the 8 November decision).”
As the debate was in progress, BSP chief Mayawati demanded the presence of the Prime Minister in the House to hear out the Opposition parties and address their concerns.
Supporting her, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said since Lok Sabha has adjourned for the day, Modi should hear out at least the major parties.
Quoting media reports, Sharma said State Bank of India – the country’s largest lender – knew of the decision way back in March and a Gujarati newspaper had in April published a report of move to withdraw 500 and 1000 rupee notes.
He demanded a probe into “how many people bought more than Rs 1 crore of foreign currency and bullion” since April.
“This is a serious issue… you never kept secrecy (about the decision),” Sharma said.
The “ill-timed” and “ill-conceived” move had unleashed “economic anarchy” in the country and benefited a few, he said, adding that to fight blackmoney created by higher denomination currency, a bigger Rs 2000 note has been brought which is similar to the paper on which ‘churan’ is sold and “shed colour” was brought.
“Your government is insensitive,” he said adding Modi was riding a bullet train in Japan when old, women and common man were queueing up at banks at 3 am in the morning to get currency to buy their daily needs.
Sharma said Modi had in his Goa speech had stated that those standing in line at banks were those involved in 2G spectrum and coal scam as well as holding blackmoney.
“I condemn the Prime Minister for calling the poor standing in queue for his Rs 4000-4,500, blackmoney holders and scamster,” he said.
(With inputs from PTI)