I&B minister M Venkaiah Naidu today asked opposition parties to not try scoring “political points” on the Centre’s move to demonetise Rs 500, Rs 1000 notes as it will help in containing inflation, making housing affordable but will hit people like unscrupulous arms dealers.
“Apart from curbing corruption and black money, this will bring down inflation, land prices will also get reduced and home buyers will have happy news,” Naidu who is also the minister for Urban Development as well Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation said at a press conference here.
He also accused the Congress of speaking in many different voices on the issue and said criticism for the sake of it would not yield results as people had favoured the decision.
Naidu said the “biggest setback will be for arms dealers and smugglers” and also emphasised that the electoral process will also become more transparent.
“Unfortunately a few political parties are making political comments,” he said adding that the criticism lacked substance and support of the mass opinion.
At the interaction Naidu’s reaction was sought on criticism by opposition parties including Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi that farmers, small shopkeepers and housewives “thrown into utter chaos” through the move.
Naidu responded saying that farmers don’t have black money as there is no tax on their income. He also questioned if the housewives were separate from their husbands.
The senior minister said that issue should not be trivialised as there would be good long term effects and there is no reason to panic at all.
Naidu’s reaction was sought on certain comments made by Congress leader P Chidambaram that a similar step was taken in the 70s but the problem persisted.
“What is the mystery of Chidambaram being silent during the UPA regime, let him explain. He was Finance Minister, Home Minister for good period of time. What is the best scheme he could have offered,” Naidu said.
Naidu was asked if the government had timed the move with UP elections on mind as alleged by some political parties to which he said that elections in India always come in some state or other after every few months.
In that case, the Congress should support the Prime Minister’s proposal of holding simultaneous polls for Centre and states.
Asked to comment on some opposition party leaders jibes that the move was reminiscent of the rule of Mohammad-bin- Tughlaq, who shifted his capital from Delhi, to which Naidu said that he would prefer to leave it to the judgement of the people.
Questioning the critics, Naidu said that they have even said that BJP will be the loser as traders would be the biggest hand.
He said that even in 1978, similar steps were taken by the then Janata party government, of which the present BJP was also a part. The dimensions of the problem are much more serious and bigger now, he said.
Naidu said that ever since the Modi government took over, it had been working against those who hoard black money. He said that government even gave chance to people to make voluntary disclosures and pay the taxes.