Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi Friday engaged in a war of words over demonetisation, with the PM saying it "still rankles" the Congress, while the opposition party's chief labelled the move as the "biggest scam" of independent India.
Two years after the massive note-ban exercise, which saw overnight scrapping of the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 bills, demonetisation continued to be a hot button topic with the BJP and Congress leaders regularly sparring over the move.
Addressing a rally ahead of the second phase of voting in Chhattisgarh on November 20, Modi claimed the people did not have issues with demonetisation, but "only a family".
"Something rankles them (Congress) in such a way that they are still not able to sleep...No one sitting here is crying. But only a family is crying," Modi told the gathering at Ambikapur.
He said his government's fight against corruption would go on and those who had plundered public money "will have to return what they looted".
Modi said his government was investing the money recovered post-demonetisation on carrying out public works and funding welfare schemes.
Speaking at a rally in adjoining Madhya Pradesh, which goes to the polls on November 28, Gandhi launched a broadside against the prime minister over note-ban and accused him of "robbing" the hard-earned money of the poor and giving it to a few rich.
After the note ban exercise, which had rendered 86 per cent of the total currency in circulation invalid, Modi made honest and hardworking citizens stand in queues outside banks, he said, addressing the rally in Sagar district.
"He (Modi) allowed the rich like Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi, Vijay Mallya (all accused of financial frauds) to flee the country with your money and made you stand in queues outside banks. Time will prove how Modi had robbed you and gave your money to a few rich," he claimed.
Gandhi also claimed demonetisation had helped turn black money into white (legal).
"These days, Modi's speeches don't have any mention of (eradicating) corruption, a tall promise that he had made before coming to power," Gandhi charged.