Congress dared Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to do a full disclosure in response to his claim that revealing the names of those who have stashed away black money in foreign banks will embarrass the opposition party.
“The Congress is not going to be blackmailed by any such threat… The Congress party is above individuals. Strict action should be taken against whoever is involved in it but that should not be inspired by vindictiveness and it should also not be a half-truth,” said All India Congress Committee (AICC) communication department chairman Ajay Maken. On Tuesday, the finance minister had said in an interview to a TV news channel: “The names (of black money account holders) will be public shortly… I can assure you there is no embarrassment I (BJP) will have when all the names are disclosed. There is some embarrassment the Congress party will have because of those names.”
The finance minister has struggled to reply to the criticism that his government has done a U-turn on the issue of black money when it told the Supreme Court last week that it cannot disclose the names of Swiss bank account holders, a stand the UPA had taken earlier. The Congress has been relatively mute in its criticism of the government over various issues but the finance minister’s statement seems to have touched a raw nerve.
“There is no need to blackmail the Congress. Whatever name they have, they should reveal,” Maken said.
He also said: “They should not to limit the list of names to only 136 individuals. We want to tell the BJP and the Prime Minister that a half-truth is not the truth. They should not go for selective and vindictive leakages. They should come out with all the names.”
Maken also recalled that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his Lok Sabha election campaign, had said if the black money stashed away in foreign accounts is brought back to the country, each citizen would have Rs 15 lakh. Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who was then BJP President, had promised to bring back the black money within 100 days of forming the government.
“Do not mislead people about names. The people of the country are not going to get into this trap of names. They are waiting for the day when the government will bring back the black money. The period of 100 days has passed; it will be 150 days soon. So far, not a single paisa has come. People of the country, including me, are waiting for Rs 15 lakh to come into their accounts as was promised by Modiji,” he said.
Congress leaders also used the social media to aim barbs at the BJP.
Youth Congress president Rajiv Satava said on microblogging site Twitter: “A traitor is a traitor. He is neither a Congressman nor a BJP man. What is stopping Jaitleyji from naming the traitors?”
AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh tweeted: “FM instead of bluffing people should tell us when he is depositing 3 L (lakh) in a/c of every citizen as promised by Modi in his campaign speeches.”
In another tweet, he said: “Can it be a Diwali gift under Jan Dhan Yojna or we have to wait till 2019! FEKUISM at its best once again.”
Congress had attacked Narendra Modi during the Lok Sabha campaign on social media with the hashtag “feku” (a brag).