Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday asked his party ministers and MPs to submit their bank account statements for the period from November 8 to December 31 to party chief Amit Shah by January 1 next year.
Addressing the BJP parliamentary party meeting, Modi reiterated his pledge to work for the poor and declared that he would not let the country be “crushed” under black money and would ensure that the “poor get that money”. He told the MPs that the aim of the demonetisation exercise was not to “convert black money into white, but to convert black money into pro-poor money.”
“Hum desh ko noton ki gaddiyon ke neeche nahin dabne denge. Jitne note nikalte aayenge, utne note daba denge (I will not let this country be crushed under the stack of notes. All the notes that come out will be removed from the system),” Modi was quoted saying by a BJP source.
Modi’s remarks were seen as an attempt to blunt the Opposition’s charge that the amendments brought by the government to the taxation laws, passed by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, would turn black money into white.
There are also allegations that the BJP was aware of the demonetisation decision ahead of Modi’s announcement on November 8. There were reports last week claiming that the party bought large parcels of land in Bihar ahead of the move. The BJP has denied the charges.
With the prime minister and the government shifting the narrative of the demonetisation process from a fight against black money and fake currency to a transition into a cashless economy, Modi asked his party MPs to use the coming week to campaign for digitial economy.
Party MPs who attended the meeting said Modi asked them to go to “panchayats, municipalities and corporations in their respective constituencies and train all small traders to use mobile banking, net banking and other tools of digital banking”. “He asked us to go to them and teach them how to use digital tools and educate them about digital economy by next Monday,” said an MP.
Recalling that he had promised to bring back black money and impose 200% penalty, Modi, according to sources, said all penalties and surcharges imposed in the new Bill would add up to 200% of the unaccounted money.
Party sources said Modi told the MPs that the black money that would be unearthed would go to the poor as “it belongs to the poor… the rich had looted the poor and collected the money.” He said the funds would be channelled into different schemes under the Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Yojana.
Meanwhile, some MPs expressed apprehension that their bank account details could be misused, as there is no assurance on confidentiality and it could be “too much intrusion into privacy.” At the meeting, party chief Amit Shah warned MPs that the “disinformation” campaign against demonetisation in rural areas would hurt the party’s prospects. Shah asked them to “counter the disinformation campaign in the rural areas on a priority basis.”
“The party president told us that the BJP has come to power not to enjoy power, but to transform the country. So each one of us has to extend our support to the PM’s moves,” said a party MP.
Power minister Piyush Goyal also made a presentation on mobile and internet money transactions. The BJP parliamentary party also congratulated its Maharashtra unit on its victory in the local polls, which have been projected as an evidence of popular support for demonetisation.