Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked poor people not to withdraw money from their Jan Dhan accounts. In an attempt to mobilise people's support ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, Mr. Modi centred his entire speech around the inconvenience faced by the common public due to demonetisation and tried to hard sell it as something which was for the larger good of the people and the country.
He was addressing a "parivartan rally" in Moradabad on Saturday.
Mr. Modi said the money should go to poor people. The black money holders should go to jail. He was referring to reports of millions of rupees being deposited in Jan Dhan accounts allegedly by black money holders.
"I want to tell the poor people in whose account money has been deposited: don’t touch that money. If they ask for money, ask for proof. I am finding ways to put those guilty of stashing their black money in the jandhan accounts of the poor behind bars," he said to loud cheers from the public.
Mr. Modi also said that the long queues outside banks ever since the demonetisation would be the "last queues" the country would see.
"We had to stand in queue to buy sugar. We had to stand in queue to buy kerosene. We had to stand in queue to buy wheat. Thanks to those who ruled for 60 years, this country was wasting away in queues," he said. "What I have done is to start a queue to end all queues."
Mr. Modi said demonetisation had brought black money holders to the doors of the poor people.
"When we started getting poor people to open Jan Dhan accounts they did not know how they would be of use. Are they of use now or not? Those who had hoarded black money are now running after the poor and ordinary among us. They make small talk and then politely ask the poor people to deposit two lakh rupees in their accounts," he said.
"Did these people who collect black money ever come to talk to the poor people? But now, they keep lurking around the houses of the poor. I am telling you, if you have deposited money like this in your account, do not return it. Let the money stay in your account," Mr. Modi said. "If they come back and threaten you, write to Modi."
The Prime Minister also attacked the Opposition which criticised demonetisation as "anti-people".
"Corruption will not be eradicated on its own. We have to fight against it. If someone is fighting against corruption is he doing something wrong? I am surprised that in my own country a few people are accusing me [of wrong-doing].
"I won't leave any opportunity to take the country in a new direction. In the 21st century, my country is ready to accept change and become Digital India," he said. "Now your bank is in your mobile. There are 40 crore smartphones in this country. At least 40 crore people will get rid of cash transactions. Corruption will come to an end."
He claimed that despite the hardships that came in the way of the farmers (after demonetisation) there was no shortage in sowing. In fact, sowing "increased" compared to last year.
Talking about the role of big States in eradicating poverty, Mr. Modi said: "If one has to eradicate poverty from the country, it is essential to develop big States like UP, Bihar and Maharashtra. I have not fought from Uttar Pradesh only to become an MP. I wanted to launch a fight against poverty from this state."
He thanked the people for their support for demonetisation. "The people are my high command,” he said. “Not anyone else."