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27 Dec 2016

Rahul spies 'despondent' PM

SANJAY K. JHA, TT, New Delhi, Dec. 26: Prime Minister Narendra Modi appears crestfallen and rattled by the corruption queries raised against him, Rahul Gandhi claimed today.
Modiji ka chehra latak gaya hai (Modi is despondent)," Rahul told Congress stalwarts at a meeting this evening, although the Prime Minister has not responded to the questions the party vice-president has been raising over the past six days.
Rahul briefly attended the meeting after returning from a Rajasthan rally at which he again questioned whether the Sahara and the Birla groups had given Modi money.
He argued that Modi should have answered the questions upfront as a Prime Minister who was allegedly facing serious charges was not good for the government and the nation.
Referring to the government's perception management, Rahul said a false impression had been created that demonetisation had been undertaken to fight corruption, unearth black money and help the poor.
Exhorting party leaders to challenge the perception, he suggested that they must explain to the people that no government had the right to curtail citizens' freedom in a democracy.
Rahul claimed the media were not doing its job of presenting facts before the people as "they were scared". But he said the Congress had a "great opportunity" to revive itself provided its workers and leaders stood with the people and gave voice to their concerns.
The meeting continued after Rahul left as senior leaders discussed the Congress action plan after the expiry of the 50-day deadline since demonetisation kicked in.
Rahul is scheduled to hold a news conference with other Opposition leaders tomorrow. Asked about its proposed agenda, Congress spokesperson Jairam Ramesh said: "The agenda is clear: demonetisation and corruption of the Prime Minister."
He added: "While demonetisation was just a drama and has proven to be an unmitigated disaster, the charge against Modi is serious. It is about actual payments, not any notional loss."
On former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit's name being mentioned in the documents that Rahul referred to while attacking Modi, Ramesh said: "Any name mentioned should be investigated. There are names of Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Chouhan and Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh too."
The BJP has been trying to rubbish Rahul's charge by pointing out that Dikshit herself had questioned the authenticity of the documents.
The Congress today went a step ahead, saying more evidence had come to the fore vindicating the charge that the BJP leadership had advance information on demonetisation and had laundered the scrapped notes in a big way before and after the decision.
It referred to the controversy on Gujarat real estate dealer Mahesh Shah, suspicious cash deposits in Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank and the seizure of currency notes belonging to a cooperative bank linked to the family of late BJP leader Gopinath Munde.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi should order a fair probe into these incidents instead of giving hollow sermons on corruption," Ramesh said.

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