Note ban broke Opposition's pro-poor plank: Amit Shah

Note ban broke Opposition's pro-poor plank: Amit Shah

Less than a month before five states go to the polls, the BJP’s two-day conclave opened here on Friday evening with party chief Amit Shah ridiculing the Opposition parties saying they were unhappy as the note ban had taken away their pro-poor plank.

At the same time, the other historic decision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the surgical strike in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir has helped India acquire a “strong state” image globally.

Briefing the media on Shah’s inaugural address to the delegates at the BJP national executive meet, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said the party president described demonetisation and the surgical strikes as two “courageous” and “historic” decisions of the Modi government. He said that despite the Opposition’s criticism of the surgical strikes and the banknote ban, the people of the country were with Modi.

Javadekar quoted Shah as telling the leaders that the 2014 poll “mandate was not to merely run the government but to change the fate of the country” and “empower” and provide “justice” to the poor.

Shah made it clear that the elections would be fought broadly on Modi’s standing as an administrator, his government’s delivery on development and pro-poor agenda and nationalism. Though Shah told his partymen not be on the defensive about demonetisation, but go forth confidently and face the upcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh and four other states, he did not give any indication when the cash withdrawal restrictions would be eased further.

“The queues outside banks and ATMs and the people’s pain are diminishing” was Javadekar’s reply to a question on whether Shah had given a timeline on when the currency situation would return to normality.

Shah, in his attempt to answer critics seeking whether black money has come back to the banking system, told the delegates that “every money is accounted for” and the drive against high-denomination currency will expand tax base and add money to the government’s coffer, which would be channelled into welfare schemes.

Shah, according to Javadekar, said the party was going to the state polls on a confident note, taking into account that the BJP had won 8,000 of the 10,000 seats in the civic polls held recently in Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chandigarh and Maharashtra.

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