In the wake of continued disruption of Parliament and criticism of the Centre’s demonetisation move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said since he is not being allowed to speak in the Lok Sabha, he is now speaking at a Jan Sabha.
Strategically choosing to speak in Hindi at Deesa, Modi began by highlighting the achievements and hardships of the farmers in the district, which is facing a scarcity of water and borders the hostile neighbour Pakistan. “I am told it is after a very long time that a Prime Minister is visiting Banaskantha — almost 25 years or so. However, I am here not as PM but as a son of this soil,” Modi addressed a farmers’ rally in Banaskantha district.
Modi was in Gujarat to launch the new Rs 350-crore Amul cheese factory at Banas Dairy, Amul Deshi A2 Cow milk and honey made by Banas Dairy.
In no time Modi switched to the topic of demonetisationand said today everyone is discussing the issue of note ban. “Parliament is not being allowed to function. Happenings in Parliament has anguished our President, who has a tremendous political experience,” Modi said referring to the recent remarks by President Pranab Mukherjee.
He went on to add that as he is not being allowed to speak in the Lok Sabha, he is speaking at a Jan Sabha.
“Government has always said we are ready to debate. I am not being allowed to speak in Lok Sabha so I am speaking in the Jan Sabha.” the PM said.
Responding to the Opposition’s comments on the Centre’s demonetisation move, he said no party has asked him to roll back the decision but they have all asked for more efficient implementation. “During elections, we have a lot of heated debates, but in the end, we all call for increased voter turnout, about educating the voter as to how to use the electronic voting machine, etc. Likewise, yes, you can oppose me but do teach people about banking, using technology for financial transactions.” In his own words, “Rashtraneeti is above Rajneeti.”
The PM was addressing a massive gathering of around 200,000 people, and assured them that things would start improving after the first 50 days. “I had asked for 50 days. You will see how things will change. This is a major step to rid the nation of corruption. We are standing with the honest people of the country, with the poor people of the nation. One hundred and twenty five crore Indians have supported demonetisation,” he added.
The currency ban has increased the value of 100-, 50- and 20-rupee notes, he said, adding, “We took the decision on currency notes to strengthen the hands of the nation’s poor.”
Pushing his dream for a cashless India, he said that as currencies have changed from silver coins to paper notes, times have now changed towards mobile wallets. “Your bank, your wallet is in your phone. We are moving away from the paper currency system. No need to queue outside ATMs and bank branches, your bank will queue up in front of your mobile,” the PM said.
The PM is also scheduled to visit the state BJP headquarters in Gandhinagar district in the afternoon, his first trip after assuming the top office in May 2014. This is the fifth visit of the Prime Minister to his home state, which will go to polls in the second half of 2017, in the last six months.
During his speech he also urged farmers to focus more on value addition of crops, like castor and isabgol that have huge potential. Launching the Banas dairy made honey he felt that that the established dairy network in Gujarat could be used to market the honey as well. “With white revolution, the farmers of Gujarat will now also lead in sweet revolution (honey),” he said.