The Left parties, including the CPI(M) and CPI called a 12-hour bandh’ or country-wide strike to protest against the demonetisation of old high-value currency notes in West Bengal, Tripura and Kerala.
Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress did not join the Left in the bandh call in West Bengal.
The Congress too decided to stay out of the bandh.
Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh made it clear it has not called for a ‘Bharat bandh’ and the party which will hold nation-wide protests as part of ‘Jan Aakrosh Diwas’.
“It is a political move which is being sold as a fight against corruption,” Ramesh said while hitting out at the Centre.
He claimed that Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes were scrapped to cover up the government’s failure to deliver on the Prime Minister’s big electoral promise of bringing back black money stashed abroad and Modi wanted to do something “dramatic”.
“Unfortunately, people who needed to be attacked have gone scot-free,” Ramesh added.
Most Opposition parties held nation-wide protests.
Parties like the JD(U) and the BJD are not participating in the protests as both Bihar chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik have welcomed the Centre’s move.
“We have supported he Centre’s demonetisation move. How can we oppose or be the part of activity like bandh which is meant to protest the issue which our party has strongly supported,” Bihar unit JD(U) President Bashishtha Narayan Singh said.
Even though JD(U) and TMC are part of the so called Third Front, Nitish has categorically refused to be a part of Mamata’s protest rally in Patna against demonetisation on November 30.
“JD(U) will not be part of any agitation against demonetisation including the dharna by Mamata Banerjee on November 30 in Patna,” party Secretary General K C Tyagi said.
The Aam Aadmi party also held protests in Delhi.
Mamata’s TMC and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP are the only parties which have demanded a roll back of the exercise, while other parties have voiced displeasure over the way it was being implemented which was causing hardship to common people.
NDA ally Shiv Sena has backed demonetisation but has vocally expressed its unhappiness over the way it was causing problems to people.
On Sunday Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his radio programme Mann ki Baat had slammed the Opposition for calling a ‘Bharat Bandh’.
PM Modi in his address also appealed to the youth to learn about cashless transactions and hailed the benefits of a cash-less economy.
Congress’ Ramesh slammed PM Modi and claimed that the BJP was spreading misinformation that Congress and other parties have called for a ‘Bharat bandh’.
He also added that the Prime Minister, who believes in “sound bytes”, has been talking of “cashless and lesscash society. Does he want cashless mandis also?”
(With inputs from PTI)