New Delhi: The Union government is misleading people with its "half-hearted" attempts to tackle black money and political parties were "functioning as conduits" in converting the illegal wealth, Swaraj India on Sunday alleged. The new political party led by former Aam Aadmi Party leaders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav said the NDA-led central government was "equally insincere" as the previous government of the UPA coalition in meeting the challenges of the black money.
During a rally on the issue in central Delhi, the party alleged that the Centre was "misleading public with its half-hearted attempts" and said the truth was that "the ongoing proceedings against black money have been guarded by political parties".
Referring to black money as a 10-headed Ravan, Yadav said demonetisation only takes out one of the heads and to kill it, its navel - political corruption - has to be attacked. The party claimed that successive governments and all major political parties have "consistently defied Election Commission's plea" to follow standard accounting practices. Cash declarations by political parties till December 30 be made public and subject to a special audit, it demanded.
"There is no way the government can prevent political parties from functioning as conduits of converting demonetised currency into white money," the party claimed. "I had written to the Prime Minister in July 2014 suggesting him ways to curb black money... Instead of taking any action, existing laws and institutions that could prevent corruption and black money are being weakened," Swaraj Abhiyan President Prashant Bhushan, who broke away from AAP, said.
"Corrupt officials are being placed in key positions in anti-corruption organisations. Three years have passed since the Lokpal bill was passed and yet no Lokpal has been appointed," he said at the rally according to a statement. The party said it plans to launch a nationwide campaign demanding reforms in rules governing political funding.
Meanwhile, BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy on Sunday attributed the prevailing cash crunch to lack of preparedness by the Finance Ministry before demonetising high value currencies.
"The Finance Ministry should have taken precautionary measures before demonetising Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes," he told reporters here.
"The government had decided to go for demonetisation in 2014 itself and the Finance Ministry ought to have done contingency plans. They have not done any preparation and the Prime Minister had announced (demonetisation), assuming that the things will be a smooth," he said.
Moreover, the size of new Rs 500 and Rs2,000 currencies was small to accommodate in the ATMs, which was another reason for the problem, he pointed out.
"Along with demonetisation, the committee headed by me on the issue in 2014 had recommended abolition of income tax, so that the people get relief," Swamy said.
On stalling of Parliament proceedings, the BJP leader said, "We are not responsible for this, it is Congress which is responsible."