PM to address nation on New Year’s eve

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The last time Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation on a late evening, he had taken the country by surprise. As the 50-day period after demonetization expires, he is all set to make another address through public broadcaster

Doordarshan, this time before the dawn of the New Year.

Speculation is rife about the speech — whether it would be about another unforeseen announcement, a road map of the post-demonetization scenario, a thanks to the people, or more incentives for the common man.

Modi had said in his public rallies after demonetization that for 50 days people would have to endure the troubles in the aftermath of demonetization to help him deliver the “India of your dreams”. At a meeting with BJP MPs during the Winter Session of Parliament, Modi had said there would be a, “New India in the New Year”.

If these statements are any indication, the Prime Minister could be aimed at assuaging the people, either in his address to the nation or at his Lucknow rally on January 2.

However, the content of his address is likely to be shrouded in secrecy, like the last one when he announced the decision to ban old Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes.

He could be just thanking the people for bearing the inconvenience caused after demonetization, sources said. Modi has been indicating that demonetization was just the beginning of the fight against corruption and that steps would be taken against benami property.

Under attack from the Opposition for the inconvenience caused to people in the aftermath of demonetization, this would also give the Prime Minister an opportunity to counter it.

The issue had stalled the entire Winter Session, giving neither Modi nor Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi a chance to speak on the floor of the House.

The government is confident that the worst was over and things had started moving towards normalcy. BJP is confident that Modi’s gamble has paid off, projecting him as a decisive Prime Minister who has taken a bold

decision of fighting corruption.

Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi, at a hurriedly convened press conference on Wednesday, reeled out a set of demands which included exposing names of black money hoarders in Swiss banks, return of “financial independence” by removing the limit of withdrawals of Rs 24,000 a week from the bank accounts, and compensating the poor and traders who have suffered.

Rahul also posed questions, such as how much black money had been found after the announcement of demonetization on November 8, the extent of the economic loss to the nation and how many people have lost their jobs due to demonetization.