Indira Gandhi lacked courage to demonetise, we are paying for it: Modi to his party MPs

He urged party MPs to go to the villages and inform them about government schemes on digitisation.

Indira Gandhi lacked courage to demonetise, we are paying for it: Modi to his party MPs

In an attempt to gear up his party members on the last day of Winter Session of Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed Parliamentary meet of BJP and blamed the Congress for the problems facing the country and said such a situation would not have arisen had the late Indira Gandhi shown the courage to demonetise high value currency in the early 1970s.

Modi indicated that the government could come up with more measures to “free” the poor and middle class from “exploitation” and the country from corruption and black money.


The Prime Minister said he had given strict instructions to officials and tax authorities not to harass small businessmen by digging up their past records or accounts.

He urged party MPs to go to the villages and inform them about government schemes on digitisation. “After 50 days, difficulties will be less and there will not be delay in restoring normalcy. Even now I am saying, there are reports that things are getting normal, but there will be difficulties. But it will gradually come down,” PM said.

Quoting extensively from Madhav Godbole’s Unfinished Innings: Recollections and Reflections of a Civil Servant, the Prime Minister said a committee led by N N Wanchoo had proposed demonetisation of high value currency to the Indira Gandhi government.

“When (then Finance Minister) Y B Chavan told her about the proposals (of the Wanchoo committee) on demonetisation and his view that it should be accepted and implemented forthwith, she (Indira Gandhi) just looked at him and asked Chavan only one question: ‘Chavanji, are no more elections to be fought by the Congress party? Chavan got the message’.Tell me, is the nation big or the party for them?”

“If that work was done in 1971, the country would not have been destroyed like this. Is this how the country should have been run? All these difficulties we are facing now… because for them, the party is bigger than the country. But for us, the country is bigger than the party.”

He said Manmohan Singh had also warned of serious action against tax evaders in 1991. “He had spoken in the language of threat then, but now? They do not think about the country.” He cited a para from Chanakya Neeti which states “wealth earned through unfair practices stays for only 10 years, in the 11th year you will lose it along with the capital." This, he said, was true of the UPA since it lost power after 10 years.

Praising the chief ministers of Odisha and Bihar for their support to his demonetisation move, Modi criticised the Communists for opposing it.