If this is the best attempt to clear air, it has only strengthened conspiracy theories
GN Bureau | November 30, 2016
Prime minister Narendra Modi has asked all MPs and MLAs of his party to come clean, and declare their bank transaction details to the party chief. Somewhat like demonetisation itself, it is pointless – and potentially equally appealing to gullible voters.
More importantly, if this is the best Modi could come up with to clear the air after allegations of foul play, then allegations will only gain further ground. Here’s why:
* It’s not clear why the BJP lawmakers are supposed to make their declarations before the party head, rather than to the tax authorities.
* Shouldn’t they declare transactions of the time before November 8, rather than after the date?
* In any case, there’s no need to make any declarations of the bank transactions after November 8, if the tax authorities are keeping an eye on high-value deposits.
* And what about the party itself? The BJP too would have cash on hand – in white, genuine, tax-free, derived from donations. [Sitaram Yechury, participating in a debate in the Rajya Sabha, spoke of mammoth cash deposits by the Kolkata unit of BJP in a local bank branch, and he also gave bank details. The prime minister’s move does not respond to specific allegations like this.] It would make sense if the party declares its transactions pre- and post-demonetisation. While at it, it can make a good beginning by revealing sources of donations below Rs 20,000 – a cut-off that has potentially diverted a lot of unaccounted money to various political parties.
* Meanwhile, other political parties criticising the PM’s move should set a precedent by declaring their own transactions, pre- and post-demonetisation.
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