Congress Comeback At Arun Jaitley, Piyush Goyal

Getting back money stashed in Swiss banks was the BJP’s key campaign point in 2014 elections


The Congress delivered a stinging comeback to union ministers Arun Jaitley and Piyush Goyal who have said it was wrong to assume that all money in Swiss Banks was black money. Pulling out a speech delivered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi back in 2013 where he had declared that every child knew black money was kept in Swiss Banks, the Congress asked which of these two statements was true: the one made by PM Modi or the two ministers.

The Congress also countered the effort by the two ministers to showcase a new pact with Switzerland that would give the government access to Swiss Bank transactions by Indian residents from 1 January 2018.

“Why not from 1947… Who are you trying to protect,” Priyanka Chaturvedi of the Congress said, accusing the government of fashioning its agreement Switzerland in a way that the names of people who had parked their black money in Swiss Banks for decades would never come out.

Her colleague in the party, Randeep Singh Surjewala, tweeted his attack. “If Swiss money is white, Where Is black money,” he asked.

A promise to bring back black money stashed away in foreign banks was key promise made by PM Modi at election rallies in the run up to the 2014 elections. He had said it would be enough to deposit 15-20 lakhs in every bank account.

Official Swiss Bank reports of a 50 per cent jump in deposits made by Indians in Swiss Banks in 2017 had led to attacks from the Congress that read this spike to imply that the efforts to curb black money hadn’t been as successful as suggested by the government.

She also took a swipe at Mr Jaitley and Mr Goyal for rushing to explain the Swiss Bank deposits, asking who was the real finance minister.

“I would want to ask the real and fake finance minister – I don’t know who is real and who is fake here – that before 2014, every discussion on Swiss bank accounts was considered black money,” she said.

Mr Piyush Goyal had taken over as finance minister in May this year since Mr Jaitley had to undergo a renal transplant surgery. It is a temporary arrangement since Mr Jaitley is recuperating.

But it was Mr Jaitley, a minister without portfolio, who last week announced in a Facebook post that the government’s chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian was going to quit. On Friday, he had echoed the government’s argument on the Swiss Bank data after Finance Minister Piyush Goyal had spoken.

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