Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday hit back at Rahul Gandhi over his criticism of demonetisation, saying the Congress and the 'family' alone were "weeping" over notes ban even after two years as "deposits of their four generations" were gone.
Stoutly defending the notes ban, dubbed as "the biggest scam" since independence by Congress president Rahul Gandhi, PM Modi said demonetisation brought money into the banking system that is being used for public good and vowed to continue his fight against corruption.
Addressing a rally at Shahdol in Madhya Pradesh ahead of the November 28 elections, PM Modi devoted a large part of his speech rebutting criticism of his government's controversial decision to scrap the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes on November 8, 2016.
The exercise caused difficulties to common people only in initial days and it is not so now, the PM said.
"Note ban has brought money into the banks. It is being used for public good. At the time of demonetisation, I had said publicly that it would create some small difficulties in the initial stage," he said.
"Some had money under their beds. Some in sacks...in almirahs. Modi, with note-ban, brought this to the banks. This is your money," he said pointing at those attending the rally and added, "That is why toilets are being built... houses are being built."
He asked the people attending the rally whether they were still facing problems due to the scrapping of the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, and they replied in the negative.
PM Modi, targeting the Congress for criticising demonetization, said: "They are feeling the pain (of note-ban). The Congress alone is weeping. This family is weeping. Why? Their four generations' deposits are gone. Their tears are not drying up. An old man gets to terms after his young son's death in a year. But they have lost so much they are unable to cope up (with the loss) in two, three years.”
"Is it not right to bring back the looted money. The work will continue. Give your blessings to me for continuing my fight against corruption," he said amid cheers from the audience.
Speaking at a poll rally in Madhya Pradesh's Sagar district, Mr Gandhi had on Friday dubbed demonetisation as the "biggest scam" since independence. The Congress has been relentlessly attacking the government over the issue, questioning its claims of checking black money and corruption.
Stressing that his government was working for the poor, PM Modi said," I have promised that every family will have a home by 2022 when the country celebrates 75 years of independence. Every family in the country will own a house by 2022."
"Has anybody any doubt over my promise? No. Under the Prime Minister Housing scheme, 12 lakh houses have been handed over to the people," he added.
Madhya Pradesh will have a single phase polling for its 230 assembly seats on November 28 and the counting of votes will take place on December 11.
The BJP is seeking a straight fourth term, while the Congress is hoping to return to power in the state after 15 years.
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