Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu on Saturday said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is a puppet for the wealthy and influential people, adding that the party's intent and policies are aimed at further enhancing the wealth of the rich.
Addressing a press conference in Raipur, Mr Sidhu said, "The BJP is a puppet for the rich. They (rich) have a key, which they turn and make them (the BJP) bend to their will. I don't have to prove anything I say, the numbers and the figures from their governance are proof enough."
Mr Sidhu then shifted the focus of his onslaught on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's demonetisation move, saying, "The Prime Minister's campaign (in 2014) was built on the promise to get all the black money abroad back to the nation and distribute it among the poor. That 90 lakh crore black money is real. But nobody stores it in gunny bags or in the trunks of their car. Black money is kept in the form of jewellery, lands, assets, foreign banks etc. In the dark of night, you made a ludicrous declaration, saying 'we will get all the black money in the country through demonetisation'."
He further stated that the move was paradoxical, saying, "If the black money was in India, how 99.3 per cent notes returned to banks? What was the purpose? You broke the back of the informal, cash-dependent economy of the country."
He also attacked BJP president Amit Shah.
"A bank, where merely Rs 13 crores used to be deposited throughout the year, within five days Rs 735 crore were deposited. From where did it come? If it was actually deposited, 12000 people would have to deposit Rs two and a half lakh each. Amit Shah needs to answer. Only poor people suffered during that disaster, name one rich person who was stuck in the same queues," Mr Sidhu said.
"On the other hand, you have all government banks giving loans to the tune of hundreds of thousands of crores, name one private bank which has given loans to defaulters. Nirav Modi, Mallya sahab, Choksi ji, who managed to escape the country, the sons of your friends were their lawyers. And while they escaped the country, what is your equation with Adani sahab, who is still here. He has a loan of one lakh crores, the debt of the Chhattisgarh farmers is 3,200 crores," Mr Sidhu added.
The Congress leader further stated that whoever raises questions is labelled an anti-national, is discredited.
He also accused the Prime Minister of looking out for the interests of big oil companies like Reliance and Essar instead of the common man when international oil prices fell from 150 USD per barrel during the UPA government to the current price of 40 USD per barrel.
"You built the statue for Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who used to promote the idea of 'Akhand Bharat'. What are you trying to prove? Do you not resort to Hindu-Muslim politics to polarise people?" Sidhu said.
Replying to questions pertaining to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's challenge to the Congress about breaking the shackles of family politics and appointing an outsider as the party president, Mr Sidhu, in reference to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's 10-year-term, said, "Let party president be, we appoint outsiders as Prime Ministers. Is the Prime Minister not a bigger post than party president?"
When asked about the controversy surrounding his visit to Islamabad for Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's oath ceremony, Sidhu said, "Is the Prime Minister jealous that he was not invited? Is he jealous that he went to Pakistan uninvited (for Nawaz Sharif's birthday)."
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