BJP to observe Nov 8 as anti-black money day: FM
New Delhi: The BJP on Wednesday announced it would mark the first anniversary of demonetisation on November 8 as 'anti-black money day', setting up a political tug of war with opposition parties which have planned to observe it as a "black day".
Leading the charge, senior party leader and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley slammed the Congress over its stand against demonetisation, alleging it did not take a single significant step against black money when in power and listed the measures taken by the Modi government against the menace.
Union ministers and BJP office bearers across the country will build public opinion in favour of the government's decision till November 8 when the party would hold programmes across the country to observe it as anti-black money day, he said at a press conference here.
The finance minister also rejected the criticism that note ban decision did not expose black money, saying it came from those who did not understand its objects.
Jaitley said that demonetisation had served all three objectives -- to squeeze cash economy, promote digital transactions in business and widen the tax base. He pointed out that sale of gold through digital transactions doubled this time on 'dhanteras' festival.
"The Congress had adequate opportunity to be in power. I can't recollect a single significant step they ever took against black money. They had reconciled to India living in a shadow economy.
"It is understandable that it would never be on the political agenda of their leadership, so their discomfort is understandable. If there is an ideological polarisation over a debate on November 8 over the issue of the pro-excess cash economy and anti-black money, then the BJP will take it forward," Jaitley said.
The BJP's move comes after around 18 opposition parties, including the Congress and Left, announced that they would observe November 8 as 'black day' against demonetisation which they termed as the government's "most ill-conceived decision".
Jaitley listed out steps, including the constitution of a SIT, benami law and reworking of India's double taxation avoidance agreement with some countries besides demonetisation to argue that the government has been working to curb black money.
Lashing out at the Congress over its criticism of the government's announcement to remonetise banks, he said those who "destroyed" the country are giving a "sermon" today.