PRIME MINISTER Narendra Modi on Sunday appealed to the people to support the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, asking them to bear the “pain” for “50 days” to help him deliver the “India of your dreams”. He also reiterated his warning that several other “projects” were in the pipeline to check corruption, including action against benami property.
“Maine sirf pachas din mange hai… December 30 tak mujhe mauka dijiye… Agar December 30 ke baad, koi meri kami rehjaye, koi meri galti nikal jaye, koi meri galat irada nikal jaye, aap jis chaurahe main mujhe khada karenge, main khada hokarke desh jo saza karega, wo saza bhugatne ke liye taiyyar hoon (I have only asked for 50 days. Give me time till December 30. After that, if any fault is found in my intentions or my actions, I am willing to suffer any punishment given by the country),” he said, speaking at the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Mopa airport in Goa.
Modi said he was ready to face the consequences of his decision. “I know that I have taken up a fight with some forces… They may not spare me, they may ruin me because their loot of 70 years is in trouble. But it does not bother me,” he said.
“I was not born to occupy the high chair,” he said. At this point, he was visibly emotional, and paused for a while before continuing. “I have left my home, my family for the sake of the country,” he said.
“I promise you I will give you the India of your dreams… If someone faces a problem, I also feel the pain. I understand their problem but this is only for 50 days,” he said.
Later in the day, addressing an event to mark the 100th anniversary of the Karnataka Lingayat Education Society in Belgaum, he reiterated: “I have not hidden anything from the country… If I had lied, you would have the right to be angry. On the first day itself, I said there will be problems till December 30, to give me 50 days… Crores of honest people have been standing in line. Is it not the government’s duty to protect the honest? If we have to struggle for 50 days to punish the corrupt, should we not do it… There is pain due to my decision, but there is more gain… I will stand with you.”
Targeting the Opposition parties, he said: “On November 8, at 8 pm, you saw a step being taken to end the corruption scams you saw in 2012, 2013, 2014. There used to be news about the coal scam, 2G scam… After the November 8 announcement, you saw what happened. Those involved in corruption had to stand in line for Rs 4,000… On November 8, when the poor were sleeping peacefully, the rich were searching for sleeping pills.”
“I pray to you that if you trust me, then give me your blessings for the auspicious work (pavitra kaam) I have set out to do. Please stand up and clap, and give me your blessings,’’ he appealed.
He warned that he would not stop after December 30. “This is not the end… There are many other projects in my mind to stop corruption… I will expose corruption since the time of independence,” he said. “This government will not harass the honest, but will not allow the dishonest to go scot free. Has the country not been looted for the last 70 years,’’ he asked.
“The Congress is asking why we have stopped Rs 500, Rs 1,000 notes… When the Congress stopped 25 paise, did we say anything? You dared to stop only 25 paise, that’s what your power was limited to. But you did not make higher denomination currency notes illegal… We did it… People have chosen our government and they expect so much from it,” he said.
Modi claimed that over half the Members of Parliament approached him when his government made it compulsory to declare PAN card numbers for purchase of gold worth over Rs 2 lakh.
Saying the demontisation move took 10 months, he said it had to be kept a secret because the dishonest would have otherwise been able to convert their black money. “Those who have heard my speeches know that I have said that high value notes will be curbed,’’ he said.
“In my Mann ki Baat, I have spoken about the need for a cashless society, that credit and debit card transactions are needed. The Government of India has removed taxes on cashless transactions. We did it because we wanted to implement this current policy. With Jan Dhan, we have given 20 crore people RuPay cards. We did it two years ago, so people can use it now,’’ said Modi.
“The malaise of black money runs very deep and is very serious, because the country has been afflicted by this malaise for 70 years. All are afflicted. I have been giving small dosages of medicine to cure this malaise. Now I have given a strong dosage,’’ he said. “People keep asking the question ‘what has Modi done’. Now you know what I did on November 8,’’ he added.
The Prime Minister compared the demonitisation process to the pre-poll process, when the entire government machinery gets ready for smooth conduct of elections.
“During elections, all government resources are focussed on conducting the elections. For nearly 90 days, the government is engaged in this and nearly 70 to 80 per cent vote in the end. When the election process of 90 days can be endured, what we are asking for is only 50 days of inconvenience for the sake of the country,’’ he said.
Thanking people for their support, he said, “Even Ganga Ma is surprised… people who did not spare a paise are throwing lakhs of rupees in the river. A widowed mother who complained that her son and daughter-in-law never visited her is now blessing me, as her children are pursuing her to deposit lakhs of rupees in her name,” said Modi.