New Delhi: Addressing a press conference today, BJP president Amit Shah said that, while the world recognised the fact that black money was a facilitator of terrorism, Maoism, drug peddling, hawala and other nefarious activities, why the opposition in the country was so agitated by the government’s decision to abolish what made the movement of black money so convenient: high-denomination currency notes.
“Terrorists and several organisations associated with terrorist activities have received a severe jolt,” the BJP president said, adding, “Those dealing in counterfeit notes have been badly shaken, too, as have drug peddlers and hawala dealers, which they will take a lot of time to recover from.”
Shah said that “the whole country believes, and the world believes” that the antisocial elements are shocked and pained. “All patriots, the people of the country and genuine taxpayers have welcomed the decision,” he said.
“Today I am appearing before you to make it clear that no genuine taxpayer has a reason to fear,” Shah said, adding that this was a well-thought out decision reached after due consultation with economic experts.
“Small businessmen, housewives taking care of their respective households, genuine taxpayers, farmers, labourers and the poor — the government has taken measures to look after the interests of all,” the BJP president said.
Thereafter, Shah repeated what had been explained by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 8 November in his own words, and thanked bank officials for cooperating with the people. He informed through the press that the government had formed a team to look into the problems that are still faced by the people.
“The government has taken a bold step so that the country’s economy realises a very big profit,” the BJP chief said and then conceded, “Possibly, there are long queues; there is difficulty in withdrawing cash from ATMs.” He said, “With sensitivity towards such problems, I’d like to appeal to the people to support this courageous step of the government because ridding the economic system of the country of fake notes and black money is very important. It is such an ulcer in the economy with which the country cannot develop.”
But, he said, “The way the political parties are breast-beating as a result surprises me,” adding that the parties that had been asking the Modi government what it had done to tackle black money are bewildered by the government’s hard hit on black money.
“I’d like to ask the chief of the BSP (Mayawati), Mulayam Singh ji, Rahul Gandhi ji, (Arvind) Kejriwal ji why they are pained,” Shah said, adding that the measure would “turn politics clean, cleanse the electoral process of black money”, which the political parties must welcome. “I’d like to ask them whether they are in favour of black money or against it,” he said and asked the said parties to clarify through their press conferences whether they supported black marketers, hawala operators, terrorists funded by fake currencies, etc.
When a journalist reminded Shah that Mamata Banerjee was another politician who had raised some objection to the government decision, he agreed and then appealed to all parties to try not to appear to be in the league of black marketers. Saying that the poor have suffered no loss, the BJP president quipped, “I accept that some parties must have turned poor.”
Answering questions of journalists at the conference, Shah said that the ATMs were not yet equipped to handle the new currency notes (of Rs 2,000 denomination), which was why they were being dispensed only by bank branches, and informed that these machines would be soon upgraded. It was a matter of some days (about a week), he said, accepting that the people might be hassled till then.