Hitting back at Rahul Gandhi’s charge of helping big corporates and the rich, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his government is focused on working for the poor and asserted that demonetization has destroyed in one stroke black money, terror funding as well as human and drug trafficking. Targeting parties who are opposing the note ban, he claimed some people are upset as his decision has struck the “ring leader of thieves”. Addressing BJP’s ‘parivartan maharally’ in poll-bound Uttarakhand, Modi appeared to rebut Rahul’s charge when he said that while the UPA government’s move to raise the number of subsidised cylinders from 9 to 12 was projected as momentous, his government gave gas cylinders to five crore people below poverty line.
“18,000 villagers were living in 18th century without electricity… in thousand days, we have electrified 12,000 villages. Work on remaining 6,000 is on. Is this working for rich or empowering the poor,” he said.
With the decision to demonetize Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, the black money stored in cupboards and under mattresses is now coming to banks and to the people, he said, adding he is fulfilling his duty of a ‘chowkidar’ (watchman) to get rid of black money and “dark hearts” which have ruined the country. “In some, corruption is in the blood. They used back door to convert the money and thought Modi cannot see.
“But we knew and now they are being caught,” he said referring to various raids by law enforcement agencies on black money hoarders. Describing note ban as a “cleanliness drive”, he thanked the people for standing by him. He also said the move is aimed at empowering the people and to give them a bright future. “I am fighting to make the honest empowered,” Modi said adding that his November 8 decision has dealt a devastating blow to black money and terror funding. The decision is not being liked by some people as he has struck directly at the “ring leader of thieves” (choron ka sardar), the Prime Minister said.
Referring to the demands for ‘One Rank, One Pension’ by personnel of the armed forces, Modi said the party and the family which has ruled the country for over 40 years did nothing on the issue till the eve of 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Uttarakhand is among the various states which sends thousands of youth to serve in the armed forces. He said ahead of the general elections, UPA allocated a mere Rs 500 crore “fearing that Modi, who has a special love for soldiers, may come up with something”. The PM said the OROP entails an expenditure of Rs 10,000 crore plus which his government readily gave in installments.
He said the personnel understood his plight that giving the entire sum in one go was not possible and they agreed to take it in installments. Noting that development was his government’s only objective and he was working consistently towards that goal, he said the fight against corruption and black money launched on November 8 with demonetization was a step towards empowering the country’s honest people. “Did you give me the huge mandate in 2014 to cut ribbons and lighting ceremonial lamps only at inauguration ceremonies? “Didn’t you vote me to combat and end corruption. Shouldn’t we fight the evil with all our might?” he asked.