Launching a fierce attack on the Congress, especially on Rahul Gandhi, amid the demonetisation debate, Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah on Tuesday alleged that the leaders of that party had accumulated Rs 12 lakh crore during the United Progressive Alliance rule through "corrupt" means, which he said was turned into "paper scrap" overnight by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Setting the tone for the winter session of Parliament, scheduled to begin Wednesday, he claimed that the Congress was unhappy with the withdrawal of the high-value currency notes as its "fortune" was reduced to "paper scrap" by Modi's move.
Shah also mocked the Congress vice-president for "going to a bank in a Rs-4 crore car to exchange Rs 4,000".
"During their 10-year rule, the Sonia-Manmohan government did one scam every month, be it 2G, CWG, coal allocation, Adarsh Society, aircraft purchase and many other. With such large-scale corruption, Congress leaders accumulated Rs 12 lakh crore which is equal to the size of three Union budgets.
"They parked this huge amount of money in their houses, godowns and at their friends' places thinking that it was safe. But, Modi turned it into paper scrap by announcing demonetisation on November 8. This has taken away all the charm from the faces of the Congressmen," he said.
Shah was addressing party workers and citizens at Bharuch in Gujarat where he inaugurated the Bharuch District Cooperative Bank building.
The BJP president was also unsparing in his attack on Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, claiming that everyone was in "deep trouble" due to the demonetisation move, but no one was ready to reveal the reason behind their discontent.
Shah's comments came on a day when the Congress-led opposition closed ranks to pin down the government on the demonetisation issue in Parliament.
"The situation is like a flood which sweeps away everything. Now, Congress leaders, Kejriwal, Mamata and Mulayam Singh have joined hands to save themselves from this flood. I am sure that those present here are not worried at all because we do not have black money. Only those who have black money are worried," he said.
Taking a dig at Rahul who had criticised the prime minister for the demonetisation decision, Shah said, "Rahul baba went to withdraw Rs 4,000 in a Rs-4 crore car. Do you think these people ever need Rs 4,000 cash? Rahul baba talks about the poor. I want to tell him that if he and his party were so concerned, then the Congress leaders should not have stashed away the Rs 12 lakh crore."
Acknowledging that the cash crunch was causing hardships to the common man, the BJP chief said they will "benefit in the long run".
After surgery, you feel a bit of pain till the wounds heal completely. This is just like that. I know that you are facing problems. But, these queues (outside banks and ATMs) are temporary. After some time, you will be able to buy a new apartment at a price which would be 30 per cent lesser (than the prevailing one)," Shah said.
Slamming Rahul for his 'khoon ki dalali' barb on Modi in the wake of the Army's surgical strikes in PoK in September, he advised the Congress vice-president to take lessons in history.
"The whole country was in grief when our jawans were brutally killed by terrorists in Uri. Had Congress been ruling now, they would have only condoled the death of the jawans. But, the BJP government sent a stern message that those who do not respect the borders will (have to) face consequences.
"After the surgical strikes, Rahul Gandhi had said that Modiji was doing 'khoon ki dalali'. I think, Rahulji is not aware of history. He needs to read it. He should realise that our jawans are ready to sacrifice their lives to save our motherland and the whole country is standing behind these brave armymen," the BJP chief said.
He also attacked senior Congress leader Kamal Nath who had reportedly questioned the "frequent" foreign tours of Modi over the last 30 months since assuming power.
Shah claimed that the prime minister's foreign tours were "less" in numbers compared to his predecessor Manmohan Singh.
"Kamal Nath claimed that Modi was visiting foreign countries frequently. I want to tell him that (Manmohan) Singh had made more foreign trips than Modi. But, no one used to notice his tours as he only used to read out from some written notes and come back.
"Today, thousands gather to welcome Modi during his foreign visits. He gets a grand welcome which is a matter of great pride for all Indians. Now, everyone takes note of our prime minister's visit. That is the reason why Congress leaders feel that he is visiting foreign countries frequently," he said.
Photograph: Amti Shah/Twitter