Dehradun: Under relentless opposition attack over demonetisation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today defended the exercise undertaken by his government which he claimed "destroyed" terrorism, drug mafia, human trafficking and the underworld "in a trice".
Modi also rejected Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's charge that his government was only benefiting the big corporate entities and the rich, insisting that it was focused on working for the poor.
"The demonetisation drive destroyed terrorism, drug mafia, human trafficking and the underworld in a trice," he asserted while addressing BJP's 'parivartan maharally' in poll-bound Uttarakhand.
Targeting parties opposing the note ban, he claimed some people are upset as his decision has struck the "ring leader of thieves".
"Did you give me an unfragmented mandate in 2014 to cut ribbons and lighting ceremonial lamps only at inauguration ceremonies? Didn t you vote me to combat and end corruption.
Shouldn t we fight the evil with all our might?" he asked.
Modi appeared to rebut Rahul's charge when he said that while the UPA government's move to raise the number of subsidised cylinders from 9 to 12 was projected as momentous, his government gave gas cylinders to five crore people below poverty line.
"18,000 villagers were living in 18th century without electricity... in thousand days, we have electrified 12,000 villages. Work on remaining 6,000 is on. Is this working for rich or empowering the poor," he said.
With the decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, the black money stored in cupboards and under mattresses is now coming to banks and to the people, he said, adding he is fulfilling his duty of a 'chowkidar' (watchman) to get rid of black money and "dark hearts" which have ruined the country.
"In some, corruption is in the blood. They used back door to convert the money and thought Modi cannot see.
"But we knew and now they are being caught," he said referring to various raids by law enforcement agencies on black money hoarders.
Describing note ban as a "cleanliness drive", he thanked the people for standing by him. He also said the move is aimed at empowering the people and giving them a bright future.
"I am fighting to make the honest empowered," Modi said, adding that his November 8 decision has dealt a devastating blow to black money and terrorism.
The decision is not being liked by some people as he has struck directly at the "ring leader of thieves" (choron ka sardar), the Prime Minister said.
Making a reference to alleged misappropriation of relief funds in Uttarakhand, he said even a scooter with a capacity of five liters of oil could drink 35 liters of it.
"Five or 50 people cannot drag Uttarakhand out of the bottomless pit of corruption it is in. It needs a double engine of the BJP for the huge effort, one in Delhi and the other in Dehradun," he said, asking people to install a BJP government in the state after 2017 elections so the party can build an Uttarakhand envisioned by Atal Bihari Vajpayee who had created it.