When 282 Lok Sabha and 55 Rajya Sabha MPs of BJP assembled in Parliament House premises to attend their weekly parliamentary party meeting they were in for another surprise by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
This time Modi's "kadak chai" (strong tea) dose was meant for all his party MPs and MLAs. Party office-bearers both at the central and state level can hope to relax for a while but it's possible that in days to come, BJP president Amit Shah may issue a similar directive as the one meant for MPs and MLAs.
All BJP parliamentarians and legislators have been asked to submit their bank account statements detailing all the transaction between 8 November to 31 December, from the day Modi addressed to the nation announcing demonetisation move till the day the deadline for depositing old currency notes ends. Modi has told them to get relevant details and submit that to Amit Shah.
As it is this is for the third time in the last two and half years the BJP MPs will give details about their accounted liquid wealth. With the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, the possibility of having unaccounted cash with them is practically nil, one has been very enterprising keeping cash in smaller denomination notes.
It is mandatory for any person contesting election to submit details of his assets, cash, real estate and jewellery to the Election Commission. Ahead of 2014 parliamentary elections, they gave that detail to the EC. Second, they then had to submit an affidavit that they don't have a foreign bank account and now for the third time, they will have to submit these details.
But there is a difference. In their submission to the EC, they just had to state their current balance, now they not just have to give a statement but also the bank account numbers and so on.
This effectively would mean that party headquarters will have all the details of their legitimate deals of these 51 days, between 8 November to 31 December. But if required the party leadership can access everything, present and past transactions, with their account number and KYC.
Party MP from Bettiah, Sanjay Jaiswal said, "The move will enhance levels of transparency and probity within the party. As it is our banking details are with the EC and is in public domain. We all will comply with Prime Minister's idea and submit details within given time frame."
The prime idea behind Modi's latest move for the BJP MPs and MLAs is to take additional moral high vis-a-vis other political parties. While his political rivals are not expected to follow the suit, at least in immediate future but this will give Modi a talking point when he goes to people. In politics, public perception about a party and about an individual leader matters the most.
He wants to convey a message that he is unsparing to his own party men and women on the issue of public transparency. It comes at a time when some Congress, AAP and some other parties had been claiming that Modi had given prior intimation about demonetisation to his party men.
Not everyone in the party would be pleased with this task but since the directive comes from Modi there would be any alibi the leaders concerned.
Modi also explained proposed amendments in Income Tax Act and how the money received through taxation, penalty and other provisions would benefit poor in the country. In that context, he explained how the initiative taken from Lok Kalyan Marg, the new name of Race Course Road where the prime minister’s residence is located were actually meant for the welfare of the poor.
"The amendment is not for turning black money into white but to spend the money looted from the poor on their welfare," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said quoting the prime minister.