Shah and Banerjee spar over demonetization

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BJP and its rivals traded barbs over demonetization with party chief Amit Shah claiming only opposition leaders whose "looted" money had turned into rubbish were opposing the action and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee likening the Prime Minister to "Hitler" who violated the rights of people. Lead opposition Congress also took on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his directive to BJP MPs and MLAs to submit their bank account statements for period between November 8, the day he announced demonetization of high-value currency notes, and December 31 to Shah. Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal demanded that Modi provide details of bank transactions of BJP MPs and MLAs also for period preceding the announcement of demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency bills. Buoyed by BJP's win in the recent civic elections in Maharashtra and Gujarat and some Lok Sabha and assembly bypolls, Shah said it showed people's support for Modi's demonetization move and claimed some opposition leaders were upset as their money "looted" in scams had turned into trash. "SP, BSP, Congress, Mamata (Banerjee), (Arvind) Kejriwal are all angry with Narendra Modi today. Do you know why this is so...what was amassed through loot has been turned into 'raddi' (trash) by Modiji on November 8," he told a party rally in UP's Maharajganj. "While opposition is organising Bharat bandh and Akrosh Divas,... everywhere BJP posted unprecedented victory. People are with the government's decision on demonetization. "Poor do not have black money...Rahul baba, Akhilesh babu, behen Mayawati...it is the one that was lying with you all that has been lost...what will happen now...those who are caught with black money will lose 50 per cent and this money will be put in the treasury of the country," Shah said. Mamata Banerjee, who took her battle against demonetization to poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, hit back, equating Modi with German dictator Adolf Hitler and Delhi's autocrat ruler Muhamman bin Tuglaq. "Modiji has surpassed (Muhammad bin) Tuglaq and Hitler...he has flouted the constitutional rights of common people," the Trinamool Congress chief said at a rally against demonetization organised jointly with the ruling Samajwadi Party here. Vowing to fight till demonetization is rolled back, Banerjee said, "The fight against note ban will continue till this decision is revoked as note culling has shut shops, markets and agricultural operations." She dared the Prime Minister to first declare his own and Shah's bank account details. "Just before demonetization, a large number of properties have been bought in the name of BJP and its president," she alleged referring to media reports claiming that BJP bought several pieces of land, worth crores of rupees, in Bihar weeks ahead of the demonetization declaration on November 8. She termed demonetization a "big scam" and "black emergency". Referring to Modi's directive to BJP MPs and MLAs to submit details of their bank transactions to Shah, Sibal said in Delhi, "I was impressed with the Prime Minister for his move because he knows if he asks for the financial details of the period before November 8, it will be a problem. That is the reason he has asked for the financial details after November 8. "First tell us, payments to Shakhas (RSS units) made through which cheques? Tell us how much money was deposited by MPs and the party before November 8? Tell us what happened in West Bengal and Bihar? If he tell us these, then I would feel that the Prime Minister is really serious on the issue," Sibal said. The Aam Aadmi Party termed as "farce" Modi's direction, saying the disclosures should be made public and transactions six months prior to announcement of demonetization need to be examined. "He (Modi) is a very good event manager. It is a farce. What authority does Amit Shah hold? IT department should be given the details. The disclosures should be made public," senior AAP leader Ashutosh told reporters in Delhi. He said the Prime Minister's direction to BJP MPs and MLAs was "another drama" meant to "hoodwink" people, who are in "distress" due to demonetization. Union Minister Kiren Rijiju said since people were with Modi on demonetization, the protests called by the opposition yesterday "failed". "Those whose black money was turned into trash are left with no option but to talk about bandhs. They should realise no bandhs against the move (demonetization) can succeed. Nothing can come to a close in the country now, except black money. The country stands with the Prime Minister in this battle. So, the bandh failed," Rijiju told reporters in Mussoorie. Another Union Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy attacked opposition parties on demonetization issue, saying they were "in a state of shock". "The opposition parties, which used to think that common people are with them are in a state of shock and cannot recover from it," he told reporters in Lucknow while terming as "historic" the decision of demonetization.

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