Lucknow: Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani on Wednesday hit back at Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi's remark terming demonetisation a 'national tragedy'.
The union minister was reacting to Mr Gandhi's tweet which said, "Demonetisation is a tragedy. We stand with millions of honest Indians whose lives and livelihood was destroyed by PM's thoughtless act."
Addressing a press conference on the occasion of the party's 'black money day' here, Ms Irani said, "It is unfortunate that Rahul was supposed to take over as the president of Congress this month but after the exit polls of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh showed the BJP is gaining power, the party has again deferred its decision and there is a change in the mood. It proves that Rahul is a real tragedy for the Congress and Gandhi family."
"Rahul himself is the biggest tragedy for the Gandhi family. The Congress has lost elections after elections under the leadership of Rahul and this is the biggest tragedy," she said sarcastically. BJP's UP chief Mahendra Nath Pandey was also present on the occasion.
Accusing the Nehru-Gandhi family of being synonymous with corruption, she said, "Rahul did a drama by standing in a queue to withdraw Rs 4,000 from an ATM during the post-demonetisation days, and later went on foreign visit." Asked if Gujarat elections would be a mandate of the people on GST, Ms Irani said, "We don't believe in this theory as the party is going to polls on the issue of development."
She, however, pointed out that no one was talking of Himachal Pradesh poll results as a mandate on the GST as everyone knows that Congress stands no such chance to retain power there.
Citing some figures on the positive effects of demonetisation, the BJP leader thanked the people of the country for supporting the action taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to curb black money.
She claimed that more than one crore employees were registered with the Provident Fund and there was an increase in the number of income tax payees.
The minister praised the courage of the Prime Minister in implementing the Benami Property Act, which was passed by Parliament 28 years ago.
To a poser on problem for the traders due to GST, she said the new tax regime is a transparent tax system in which every state is a partner. "The GST council meets regularly and sorts out the issues. In the coming meeting several other issues, too, will be solved," she said.
When a scribe asked about the GST problem for the small and medium newspapers, the Minister said she had spoken with several associations and sent her suggestions to the GST council. "I will do whatever is required," she replied curtly, adding that she was ready to meet more people from the sector very soon. UNI