New Delhi: Taking a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for ridiculing Rahul Gandhi's remarks, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said though he too could ridicule him, he will not do that and said Modi should rather answer the questions posed.
"He (Rahul) says mock me but answer the questions of the people, the duty to respond to the question... lies with the Prime Minister... however he is ridiculing and acting (mocking Rahul)," Chidambaram said.
Stating that he too knows how to mock and poke fun, the former finance minister said, "I can also talk like Prime Minister... and ridicule..., however, I will not do that because he is India's Prime Minister."
Chidambaram said though Modi belonged to "another party" and "propagated several policies that we cannot accept, I respect him as he is India's Prime Minister. I will not ridicule him or poke fun at him, I only ask questions, he should answer the questions."
"Why are you (the Centre and Modi) punishing people like this (by demonetising) and what sin have they committed? Why are you harassing people and the farmers... what is the reason...I would like to ask," he said.
He said Rahul Gandhi is addressing people in several states, including Gujarat, on demonetisation and related issues.
"The Prime Minister addresses meetings, Rahul Gandhi is also doing it and the media is giving equal importance to his speeches like they do for the PM and I welcome it. However that is not enough," he said and described the claims of BJP government regarding demonetization as "falsehood." Corruption is happening black money is being hoarded by using Rs 2,000 notes, he claimed and said party workers should apprise people on such "false claims."
"I bow my head before the people for their patience," Chidambaram said, adding people are perhaps waiting for the Prime Minister's December 30 deadline for things to get normal.
"No government or Prime Minister has the authority to inflict so much pain and harassment on the people. They did not vote for them (BJP) for this," he said.
Chidambaram said the Prime Minister should have accepted that he had taken a wrong decision. "He (Modi) is a big (magnanimous) man... had he said that I made a mistake, had Modi sought forgiveness, he would have been a big man," the senior Congress leader said. He said Indira Gandhi had generously admitted that promulgation of Emergency in 1975 was a mistake as it had led to suffering of people (not in Tamil Nadu) and promised to never do it again till such time she was Prime Minister.
"That is why she continues to live in the hearts of people as a towering leader though she passed away 32 years ago," he said.
"There is nothing wrong in accepting one's mistake…there is nothing wrong in saying that I have done a mistake." Chidambaram said if Modi had admitted he had taken a "wrong decision based on wrong advice" and he was not told of the quantum of currency that will be scrapped, it would have been generous.
If Modi had said he was not apprised about the note printing capacity and how many months it would take to print such notes and on the duration of ATM recalibration, he would have been magnanimous, he said.
Modi should have admitted that he had not taken into consideration the fact that people would be hit and daily wage earners would be affected, Chidambaram said.