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Fool Me Once: Modi Minister Repeats Rs 15 Lakh Promise

Amit Shah had previously termed the promise a ‘Jumla’.

Republican Party of India (RPI) president Ramdas Athawale reportedly made startling claims while addressing a press conference in Islampur, Sangli on Monday, December 17.

Athawale said that although the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance government was ready to pay Rs 15 lakh, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) did not let them do so.

According to an ABP News report, Athawale said, “It would not be possible to give Rs 15 lakh in entirety. But, the amount will be paid in smaller numbers. The government does not have such a huge amount at its disposal.”

Athawale, who is the minister of state for social justice and empowerment in the Narendra Modi cabinet, added, “We are asking the RBI but they are not giving us. There is some technical difficulty in this (RBI remitting money to the government). This will not happen at one go, but will happen slowly.”

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Athawale’s words mock the plight of the people who had been taken in by Modi’s pre-poll promise in 2014 to ensure confiscation and return of black money and depositing the same in people’s bank accounts. Earlier, union minister Nitin Gadkari and BJP president Amit Shah had decried the promise, each with his own interpretation.

Attending a talk show on television channel Colours Marathi in October, Gadkari had mocked, “We were very confident that we would never come to power, so we were advised to make tall claims. Now that we are in power, the public reminds us of those promises made by us. However, these days, we just laugh and move on.”

Shah, meanwhile, had termed the promise a “jumla” and said, “Modi ji’s statement was an idiomatic expression (jumla) that was given during the Lok Sabha polls. Everybody knows that this black money doesn’t go to accounts of people.” He also added that, “The black money that would return to the country from abroad will be used to help the poor and the needy through schemes, Modiji had said (meant) that.”

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