Bringing back billions of dollars of black money stashed away in illegal foreign accounts by Indians was a major poll plank of the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, but it seems since then the party has realized that raising people’s expectations beyond a point on an issue like this could boomerang. Thus it is expected that in the upcoming Bihar assembly polls, the BJP is unlikely to make similar noises about enriching the masses by ferrying back plane loads of illicit wealth from Switzerland and other tax havens.
In an exclusive interview to this correspondent, Senior BJP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, Sushil Kumar Modi, blasted the Janata Dal (U) and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) for trying to make black money an election issue and said the party never promised it would distribute Rs.15 lakhs ($23,000) to each household after bringing back tonnes of black money lying in foreign banks.
Modi, who held finance portfolio under Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for eight years before the BJP-JD(U) alliance end in 2014, said the BJP’s political rivals are bereft of any issue so they are resorting to gimmicks.
“We never promised to provide Rs.15 lakhs ($23,000) to each household. What our leaders said was that if all the black money stashed abroad could be brought back to India, every household could be given Rs.15 lakhs each. We had only discussed a possibility. Our rivals are trying to twist it for cheap political gains.”
– Sushil Kumar Modi
During the Delhi assembly polls campaign in March 2015, BJP President Amit Shah had said that the promise to give Rs.15 lakhs to each household after bringing back the black money from abroad was a political jumla (gossip).
Modi said that the voters realize that the BJP-led government at the center was making sincere efforts to crack down on all sources of black money generation and was also taking steps to prosecute all such economic offenders. “Our government has already passed a tough law on Black Money and has set up a Special Investigation Team to deal with the menace. We are on the job,” he said.
About the coming together of people like Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav on one platform, he said that “it showed they were scared of facing the BJP on their own”. All these years both of them spewed venom at each other, and now they have joined hands only to be-fool the people of Bihar. Lalu Prasad’s face will forever bring back the memories of dark days between 1990 and 2005 when he directly or indirectly ruled the state. Today, he is once again trying to capture power. God save the state,” Modi said..
Modi, who is the best know face of the BJP in Bihar and commands considerable respect among the cadres, feels that the upcoming polls will show that the time has come when people are looking beyond slogans. “Our rivals are busy raising the bogey of communalism. They don’t realize that people are not going to fall for that. Everyone knows that secularism is just a slogan for people like Nitish Kumar. Why did he remain with the BJP for nearly two decades,” asked Modi.
Modi said the BJP will go into the polls with the promise of changing the face of Bihar with good governance and persuading the Central government to contribute generously for revival of the economy and generation of employment.
Modi asserted that the BJP believed in inclusive growth that touches the life of every citizen.”I myself have been hosting Iftar for 20 years,” Modi said, adding, “Bihar BJP is perceived differently by the Muslims.”
Elaborating he said, in Bihar the BJP has gone the extra mile to reach out to the minority community and backed all welfare measures undertaken for Muslims. “Muslims have seen us in power for more than eight years. They can’t have a single complaint of discrimination against the BJP ministers. Why should they distrust us now,” Modi said, adding, “ No BJP leader has ever made any adverse comment against Muslims in Bihar.”
Modi said that “the people of Bihar have seen how the country has shed its pessimism during the one year of the BJP rule at the centre and things are improving on every front“.
“People are watching how the perception of the country has changed. Bihar is no different from rest of the country. I’m confident that people are going to vote for development and change and will not be swayed by attempts at caste and communal polarization.”
– Sushil Kumar Modi
1. The exchange rate used in this article is 1 USD = 64.1750 Rupees
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