Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday slammed Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi over his comments that the government was not letting him speak in Parliament on demonetisation.
Speaking at the inauguration of an Amul plant in Banaskantha in Gujarat, Modi shot back, saying that it was the Opposition that was stalling the proceedings of Parliament, and that was why he had chosen to speak on the issue during public addresses in the country.
He also said: "Everyone in the nation is discussing the issue of currency notes. I had taken this big decision on November 8 to empower the common man and the poor of the country. The decision has increased the value of the rupee and empowered the poor." Contrary to Modi's claim on the rupee, though, demonetisation caused the currency to fall to its lowest since he became prime minister.
Modi went on to add: "You can see how the proceedings of Parliament are being stalled. I am not being allowed to speak in the Lok Sabha. That is why I have decided to speak in the jan sabha [public meeting]." This was in reply to Rahul's remark that Modi was not attending the Lok Sabha proceedings out of fear that he would be cornered by the Opposition on the issue, and was instead choosing to speak on it in public.
The stalling of the Parliament proceedings even earned the rebuke of President Pranab Mukherjee, who said in an address: "Parliamentary freedom should not be misused by causing disruptions. I have no intention of accusing any individual, but it has become a practice."
Modi, meanwhile, assured the people on Saturday that the effects of demonetisation will be visible soon: "You will definitely see things change after 50 days." The last date to get the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes exchanged or deposited in banks is December 30.
Rajnath shoots back
On a different note, the "earthquake" remark seems to have touched a nerve with more people in the BJP than it could care to admit. This was evident in the manner in which Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh dismissed it while addressing the public on Saturday.
Rajnath said, without naming Rahul Gandhi: "He said there would be an earthquake if he speaks. The truth is, he speaks every day, but not even the wind blows due to it."