The BJP-led NDA government has ruled out any possibility of rolling back its move to demonetise the higher denomination currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000. On the other side of the political spectrum, a united opposition is planning nation-wide protest on November 28 to highlighting what they have been claiming a major public inconvenience due to the government’s decision.
Ruling out roll-back, Union I&B minister Venkaiah Naidu said that the government is “ready to make improvement” and asked the Opposition parties to come forth if they have any suggestions regarding it.
“Wapas lena Modi ji ke khoon mein nahi hai,” he said while addressing a ‘mahapanchayat’ of Delhi Dehat Kisan Mazdoor today.
Claiming that Modi government has the support of poor people, Naidu said that demonetisation will benefit the marginalised section of society and farmers.
The senior cabinet minister also stressed that the government is aware of the hardship faced by the people. Defending the decision once again, he said the decision, which is aimed at making the country cashless, had to be taken with all secrecy as otherwise its motive would have failed.
The government has been facing opposition flak over the implementation of its move which has, since its announcement on November 8, seen cash crunch and long queues at the banks and the ATMs. More than 70 people are reported to have died, some of them collapsing in the long queues or at the banks.
Besides the deaths, the Opposition is also alleging that the poor, small traders, farmers and common man have suffered losses due to the demonetisation.
Earlier in the day, after more than 300 opposition MPs held a protest at the Gandhi statue in Parliament House complex, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee held demonstration at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.
In what was supposed to be her show of strength, Mamata got the backing of JD (U), SP, NCP and AAP.
Attacking the ruling party and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in particular, she alleged that abolition of high-value currency notes had heaped pain on almost every section of the society including farmers, youth, women, labourers and traders, besides halting the country’s economic growth.
“I can challenge that no one will vote for BJP. If I were you (PM), I would have apologised to the public. Why you are so egoistic? You have branded everyone in the country a black marketeer and have yourself turned into a saint,” she said.
Mamata also backed the country-wide protest called by the Opposition parties on November 28 against demonetisation.
Speaking at her rally, JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav questioned the legality of the demonetisation exercise.
“Under which law have you enforced this measure? You are stopping a person from withdrawing his hard-earned money which is his fundamental right. Demonetisation has destroyed the business of small traders. Come to Parliament and explain the logic as to how it will curb black money,” Yadav said.
(With inputs from the PTI)