Mon, Jan 23, 2017 | updated 02:04 PM IST

Nation feared second surgical strike in PM Modi's 'mini budget speech': Cong

Updated: Jan 01, 2017 18:00 IST

New Delhi [India], Jan. 1 (ANI): Alleging that there was an element of fear that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would unleash the second surgical strike in his New Year Eve address and announce further harsh measures in his fight against corruption, the Congress Party on Sunday said that the former's 'mini budget speech' was an insult to the daily wage earners.

Congress leader and former Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said the year-end speech by Prime Minister Modi was awaited by the people of India with great expectations.

"There was an element of fear, greed and hope all at the same time. There was a fear that the Prime Minister would unleash second surgical strike and announce further harsh measures in his fight against corruption. There was an element of greed that the Prime Minister might distribute black money which was unearthed as a result of demonetisation and deposit it into the Jan Dhan accounts of poor people," he added.

He said there was hope among the people of the nation that finally the hardship would be over.

"No one would have to stand in long lines. He had become emotional and said just give me 50 days...if normalcy does not come take me to the nearest street corner...and he paused and said that give me any punishment you think fit. Unfortunately, nothing of this sort happened," he added.

Chavan said the people expected the Prime Minister to declare that the exercise was successful and that the people have suffered for a good cause.

"But the Prime Minister gave no hard data. Instead he delivered what can best be called a mini budget speech, to declare some poll shops before the model code of conduct kicks in almost sounding apologetic. His speech writers betrayed poor understanding of basic concepts. It is an insult to the daily wage earners, farmers, small traders," he added.

Further escalating his attack, the former Maharashtra chief minister said the Prime Minister could not digest that only 24 lakh people declared income of over Rs. 10 lakh every year, adding that converting Kisan Credit Cards to RuPay Cards cannot be a substitute for cash.

"He said excess cash was causing inflation and black marketing. He wanted to achieve balance by reducing cash. So, how much is the right amount of cash? He said cash outside the formal economy...i.e. cash which is not in bank is bad. So was the Prime Minister advocating a zero cash economy? The Prime Minister should apologise to the nation," he added.

In his 43-minute address, Prime Minister Modi yesterday announced several schemes for farmers, pregnant women and senior citizens.

He has also provided certain exemptions and relief on home loan interest to the poor and middle class.

Saturday's address to the nation came a day after the expiry of a 50-day deadline set by the government for people to deposit old high-value currency notes in banks and post offices.

This was Prime Minister Modi's second address to the nation post demonetisation of high-value currency notes on November 8. (ANI)