“I have personal information regarding corruption involving the Prime Minister. If I speak, his balloon will burst. He is scared. Modi is personally terrified with the information I have,” Gandhi told the media after the Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day. Leaders of other opposition parties were also present at the media conference with him.
Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, however, dismissed the Congress’ allegations and said the party had run out of issues. Rijiju said: “The Congress has been exposed; they have no issues left. The government wants a debate on demonetisation. If the debate takes place, the Congress’ reality will be out.” Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said: “Why is the Congress and Rahul (Gandhi) ji not allowing the house to function and have a proper debate on demonetisation issue for the last 15 days?”
Gandhi said: “It is personal corruption of the Prime Minister. The government is scared of the information I have. Thus, they (the government) are not allowing me to speak in Parliament.” The Congress leader said he wanted to reveal the information in the Lok Sabha as he was the chosen representative of the people. “Let us speak in the Lok Sabha; we will reveal everything,” Gandhi said. “Treasury benches (the government) are not allowing discussion. Generally, the opposition does that. For the first time, we are seeing that the opposition is sitting and the government is not allowing the discussion. The government and the Prime Minister do not want the opposition to present their views in Parliament,” Gandhi said. “The Prime Minister should stop making excuses and come to the house. He should allow all of us to speak. Let the country decide if the opposition is speaking the truth or the Prime Minister,” he added.
Gandhi said the country deserved an explanation from Modi since the November 8 demonetisation had adversely affected the people across India.”He (Modi) has taken a decision against the poor of the country. He has destroyed millions of lives. It is his personal decision. He is answerable.” “He cannot keep running away from the house. He cannot run away to pop concerts, to public meetings. It is a democracy so he owes us an explanation. He should speak in the house,” Gandhi said.
The Congress Vice-President also urged Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to allow the opposition to speak in the lower house of Parliament. “We have asked the Speaker to dispense with all rules just to allow the opposition to speak. It is our right. Later, let the Prime Minister take whatever time he wants to talk. Why is he not coming to the house? Why are we not being allowed to speak?” Gandhi said.
Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay, who accompanied Gandhi, said the entire Parliamentary system is facing a “threat” as the government is not allowing the house to function smoothly and allow the opposition to speak. “We cannot understand why there is so much arrogance on the government’s part. The opposition’s voice is going to be gagged. The parliamentary democratic system is now under threat only to ensure that Rahul Gandhi is not allowed to speak,” he said.
Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader P. Karunakaran said 16 opposition parties were together on demonetisation and wanted a discussion on the issue which, he claimed, is being scuttled by the government. “The government is not willing to answer questions. The Prime Minister is accountable to Parliament, but has not come to the Lok Sabha. It is very clear they are not ready to answer the questions raised (by the opposition). The Prime Minister is running away from Parliament, which means he is running away from people,” the CPI-M leader said.
Nationalist Congress Party leader Tariq Anwer said this is the first time that such an atmosphere has been created where the opposition is not allowed to speak. “It is a conspiracy by the government. The entire opposition is united. What is the government fearing? We are all united. Allow us to speak,” he said.