Asserting that the people have supported demonetisation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said his government has brought ‘Janshakti’ (people’s power) into prominence with the decision and flayed the opposition, saying it got “exposed” in Rajya Sabha by not agreeing to a debate despite his presence there twice.
Hitting out at opposition parties, he told BJP MPs at a parliamentary party meeting that Parliament in the past had debated decisions of previous governments that had caused social tensions and conflict but they were not allowing discussion on a major reform like demonetisation.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said Modi asked MPs to spread awareness about a “less-cash” and digital economy in the same way they enroll people in voters list during elections and highlight the use of EVMs irrespective of which party one votes for.
Modi’s message was for members of all political parties, Kumar said.
“In a democracy, ‘janshakti’ (people’s power) should be above ‘rajya shakti’ (state power). My government has brought this into prominence,” Modi said, referring to the people’s “support” to demonetisation despite facing hardships.
To buttress his point, he also recalled how a large number of people gave up on their LPS subsidy on his call at a time when the debate was about whether 9 or 12 subsidised cylinders should be given annually to a household.
The opposition is not interested in a debate over demonetisation, he said, telling party members that their job is to educate people, who have shown utmost discipline.
He said that no major political party has demanded a rollback of demonetisation and that it would have been better, had they discussed the issue and offered suggestions to the government.
That opposition parties did not agree to a debate despite his presence in the Rajya Sabha, a demand made by them earlier, has exposed them, he said.
The parliamentary party passed a resolution condemning opposition parties as it accused them of “shifting goal posts” over the issue. It also hailed people for their support.
Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan made a presentation during the meeting about his ministry’s work to shift towards less-cash and digital transactions. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, a former Goa chief minister, spoke about how the state government was working to ensure that 60 per cent of transactions in the state were cashless.