Prime Minister Narendra Modi today asked BJP MPs and MLAs to submit details of their bank account transactions between November 8 and December 31, to party president Amit Shah.
The PM has told them they need to submit the information by January 1, sources said.
November 8 was when PM Modi announced that the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes would be scrapped at midnight, and December 31 comes a day after the deadline for depositing demonetised notes in bank accounts.
The move has been hailed by many as a body blow to black money hoarders, but also criticized as a pre-election stunt, ahead of key polls in several states next year. It has even been alleged that some BJP leaders and “friends” of the BJP were informed about demonetisation before it was announced.
Demonetisation is being discussed in the Winter session of the Parliament, and yesterday, the Opposition stalled proceedings for the eighth consecutive day. Both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha were adjourned prematurely.
Parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar said the details will be made public later. Opposition parties disrupted the functioning of Parliament for the 11th day on Tuesday over this issue.
Alleging that the demonetisation move was “leaked” in advance to favour those close to the ruling dispensation, they have demanded the setting up of a joint parliamentary committee to probe it. The government has dismissed these allegations.
The ruling party is also under attack from opposition parties following reports that before banknotes ceased to be legal tender, the BJP’s Bihar and Odisha units had bought huge chunks of land and its West Bengal unit deposited a substantial amount of money in a bank.
The Prime Minister’s instructions to party MPs and MLAs on Tuesday might give a talking point to the BJP and also pressure other parties to follow suit.
BJP chief Amit Shah has told party MPs to counter the Opposition’s disinformation campaign, particularly in rural areas. He also urged them to motivate traders in panchayats, municipalities and other local bodies falling in their constituency to shift to cashless transactions.
The Congress dubbed the move as the PM’s yet another “jumla” (gimmick) and dared him to make public all financial and land dealings of the BJP and the RSS in the past six months.
Modi’s move is an attempt to deflect public attention from the alleged leakage of demonetisation decision, Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said.
At the weekly meeting of the BJP parliamentary party, Modi also said the amendment to the income tax act was not to help convert black money into legitimate wealth, but channel the money looted from poor to their welfare.
I will not allow the country to be weighed down by wads of currency notes black money Modi said at the meeting. The Lok Sabha passed the amendment bill later in the day.
The PM’s call for declaring banking transactions of BJP leaders appears to be a move to buttress his commitment to transparency and probity in public life.
It is also meant to counter the Opposition parties’ attempt to run down the Centre’s demonetisation decision by highlighting its poor implementation and also by questioning the real motive.
AAP leader and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said the BJP’s lawmakers should reveal their transactions of the last six months amid allegations from his party that they knew of the demonetisation move and have invested in property.