Varanasi: Slamming Opposition for stalling Parliament over demonetisation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday likened it to the "cover fire" given by Pakistani forces to help terrorists in infiltration and mocked Rahul Gandhi for his "earthquake" remark, saying he has "learnt to speak".
While attacking Rahul, he said the "young leader" of Congress does not think before speaking and had unwittingly admitted to the "failure" of his party's reign.
On a brief tour of his Lok Sabha constituency, his first since announcing demonetisation on 8 November, Modi asserted that the note ban will expose not only the kala dhan (black money) but also the kale mann (ill-intentioned people).
The prime minister, while addressing a function at Benaras Hindu University after launching some developmental projects for the poll-bound UP, said he had never thought that the Opposition parties would "side with the corrupt", a reference to the stalling of Parliament.
"Many people say I had not taken account the consequences of this huge step (of demonetisation). In fact, the only thing that I could not take into account was the brazenness with which many political parties and leaders came to the rescue of the corrupt," he said.
Charging the Opposition parties, who have been attacking the government over demonetisation, with "brazenly standing in support of the corrupt and the dishonest", Modi said it was like Pakistani forces provide "cover fire" at the border when "terrorists infiltrate into India".
"Now I undersatand for whom the entire uproar was. They have a young leader who is just learning to give speeches. Since the time he has learnt to speak, there is no limit to my happiness," he said, mocking at 46-year-old Rahul.
"In 2009, you couldn't even tell what is inside this packet and what is not. Now we are finding out," the PM said referring to Rahul without naming him.
A day after Rahul accused him of taking money from Sahara and Birla groups when he was Gujarat chief minister, Modi said, "He (Rahul) had been going around threatening that when he speaks, there will be an earthquake. If he hadn't spoken, there could have been an earthquake. It would have been an earthquake that people would have had to deal with for 10 years.
"There is no chance of an earthquake now that he has spoken. We can rest assured that there is no danger of the natural calamity in sight."
The prime minister took potshots at Rahul for his assertion that payments through cards, online transfers etc. would face hurdles in the country due to low literacy levels, saying, "I hope he does not say that I had indulged in some sort of black magic to make illiterate those who knew how to read and write."
"He never thinks before he speaks and he may not have realized that he has admitted the failure of the long reign of his own party," Modi said, adding his detractors have been forced "to admit, even if unwittingly, their failures".
Appealing to people to bear the hardships caused by scrapping of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, he said a cleanliness campaign has been launched and the "stink" raised during cleaning of garbage which is scattered everywhere is the same that the country is feeling now.
He also hit out at former prime minister Manmohan Singh and former finance minister P Chidambaram, saying their argument that promoting cashless economy was futile due to poverty, illiteracy and electricity not reaching villages in the country "exposes" their own report card.
Taking a jibe at Manmohan Singh, Modi said poverty is his legacy and though his image is clean, a number of major scams had taken place during his tenure.
Commenting on his predecessor's assertion in Parliament that a cashless economy was not feasible for the country where nearly 50 percent of people were poor, Modi said, "I wonder whether he (Singh) was giving his own report card by admitting the dismal situation."
"After all, he has not just been the prime minister for two terms and a finance minister previously. Since the 1970s he has been holding key positions."
Taking on Chidambaram over his assertion that online transactions could not find wide acceptance in India since nearly half of its villages were not even electrified, Modi said "whose faults is he pointing at. Did I uproot electric poles or snap cables in villages which had electricity".
Calling himself Kashi ka bachcha (a child of Kashi, the name associated with Varanasi), Modi said, "I am, nonetheless, delighted to see that the power of this holy land has made me work and forced detractors to admit, even if unwittingly, their failures".
Unfazed by Modi ridiculing his charge of personal corruption, Rahul Gandhi on Thursday stuck to his guns and Modi to tell what was contained in the "10 packets" allegedly given by the Sahara Group to him when he was the Gujarat chief minister.
"Modiji first tell us what was contained in the ten packets from Sahara," the Congress vice-president tweeted in Hindi.
मोदीजी पहले यह तो बताइये कि 2012/13 के इन 10 packets में क्या था? pic.twitter.com/gCso0R7SZC
— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) December 22, 2016
Updated Date: Dec 22, 2016 20:04:11 IST