New Delhi, Nov 25 Training his guns on the opposition, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said those who accuse the government of being ill-prepared ahead of demonetisation were themselves not ready for the surprise move that targets black money and corruption in the country.
In defending the move -- that Modi said was also aimed at giving rights to the poor and preventing the middle-class from being exploited, the Prime Minister made no reference to any political party.
But the loudest criticism of the decision announced on November 8 to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 bank notes has come from the opposition parties.
"Those who are criticising it are saying the government was not prepared to implement the decision. But that is not the real reason behind their criticism. They are hurt because the government didn't give them enough time to prepare for it," Modi said at a Constitution Day celebration function here.
कुछ लोगों की पीड़ा यह है कि सरकार ने उनको "तैयारी" करने का समय नहीं दिया। pic.twitter.com/N9uXLuzahP— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 25, 2016
"If they had got 72 hours to prepare themselves, they would have commended the move," he said.
The Prime Minister insisted that there was only "little criticism" over the radical move to change currency and the whole nation was today fighting a big war against corruption.
"The common man feels that over the last 70 years, the same Constitution and its laws and rules were misused to drown the nation in corruption," he said.
The common citizen of India has become a soldier against corruption and black money: PM @narendramodi— PMO India (@PMOIndia) November 25, 2016
"It is a big nation and a big decision. I expect from those who see a bright future for the nation to help those facing difficulties so that we are victorious in this war against corruption."
Modi said the step would also usher India into a world of cashless transactions.
"Everyone has a right to use their money. But it is not necessary to have physical currency to be able to spend it.
"Ours is a nation that has over 100 crore mobile phones. And we have technology to transact through these phones. Why not educate and encourage people to use this technology?"
Every person has a right to spend his or her money. No one can take anyone's money. Now people can spend through mobile technology also: PM— PMO India (@PMOIndia) November 25, 2016
Hours later, addressing a rally in poll-bound Punjab, Modi said the government would ensure that the poor in India are benefited.
I am doing everything possible to ensure the middle class is not exploited and the poor get their due: PM @narendramodi— PMO India (@PMOIndia) November 25, 2016
"Black money and corruption has looted the middle-class and deprived the poor of their rights. I want to give the poor their rights. I am doing everything possible to ensure that the middle-class is not exploited and the poor get their dues," he said.
Your mobile phone is also a bank. It can be used for purchasing things, making payments: PM @narendramodi— PMO India (@PMOIndia) November 25, 2016
He thanked the people for supporting his decision despite being inconvenienced by the surprise move.
(With agency inputs)