Kejriwal targets Modi for alleged secret deal with Paytm on demonetisation, Aaj Tak deletes tweet


Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleging a secret deal behind demonetisation announcement with e-commerce company Paytm.

He tweeted, “Paytm biggest beneficiary of PM’s announcement. Next day PM appears in its ads. Whats the deal, Mr PM?”

Kejriwal was responding to a news carried by Aaj Tak website, whose headline had drawn a parallel with Modi appearing in Reliance Jio ad and Paytm’s newspaper ad congratulating him for scrapping the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.

Aaj Tak’s headline said, “Paytm walks on the path of Reliance Jio, carried PM Modi’s photo in ad.”

No sooner had Kejriwal tweeted, Aaj Tak deleted its tweet. But the channel’s report on Paytm using Modi’s image to increase its business remained on its website.

In another tweet, Kejriwal termed Modi appearing in Paytm’s newspaper ad as ‘shameful.’

He said, “Utterly shameful. Do people want their PM to model for pvt cos? Tomo, if these cos do wrongdoings, who will act against them?”

Paytm, which is an e-commerce giant and also India’s largest mobile payment service, had booked front page ads in national newspapers within hours of Modi’s speech. Many wondered as to how it was able to secure premium newspaper spots for ads given that Modi’s speech on Tuesday could only end at around 9.30 PM.

Kejriwal’s cabinet colleague, Satyender Jain, on Wednesday tweeted, “How did Paytm got permission from PMO to use PM’s picture so quickly.” (sic)

Twitter user and AAP supporter Kapil raised a similar question on Wednesday in his tweet, which was shared by Kejriwal, “How PayTM knows about this decision in advance? Newspaper ads are booked in advance as per my understanding!.”

Modi’s announcement to do away with old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes had caused ripples across India with the decision adversely impacting middle class population, who were given just few hours to make alternative arrangements.

The move was hailed by BJP supporters but Modi’s detractors had condemned the announcement calling it draconian.

Banks across India were closed on Wednesday primarily to stockpile the new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 notes. On Thursday, hundreds of people were seen queuing outside banks after they opened for operations.

The jury is still out on whether Modi’s announcement is a masterstroke or an extremely foolish step. Meanwhile, the prime minister has left for yet another foreign trip to Japan for three days.