Rahul, Chidambaram lead Cong charge against note ban

Rajat Kain

File photo of AICC Vice President, Rahul Gandhi addressing gathering of party workers and supporters. Photo - PTI

File photo of AICC Vice President, Rahul Gandhi addressing gathering of party workers and supporters.
Photo – PTI

Congress party today escalated its attack on Modi government over the issue of demonetisaion with vice president Rahul Gandhi and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram taking the field. While the latter dubbed the move as “biggest scam of the year”, Gandhi once again took on Prime Minister Modi and alleged that only poor and common money are suffering post the move.

“Prime Minister Modi declared war against poor on November 8… All the hoarders exchanged their money, while all the honest are standing in the queue,” Rahul Gandhi charged hitting out against government’s move to demonetise the higher denomination currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000.

Addressing the gathering of small traders and vendors at Dadri in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, he alleged that decision was taken to help few big industrialists close to the ruling dispensation.

“Why did they do this? Let me explain this to you… 10-15 big industrial houses have taken 8 lakh cr loan from govt banks, Modiji cannot ask them to return the money back, so your money is given to the banks,” he said alleging that “Modiji wants that for 6-8 months the money of poor people gets stuck in banks and then they can waive off loans of their corporate friends.”

Sharpening the criticism further, the Congress vice president asked the gathering, “Do you see any a single rich person in the lines? Do you see a single black money holder in the queue? Those with black money are getting money through the back door…”

P-Chidambaram

Little before Rahul Gandhi, former Union Finance minister P Chidambaram raised questions over the implementation, referring to the recent seizures of new currency notes of Rs 2000 denomination.

“How did they get the money? Is it going directly to them from the printing press?” Chidambaram asked, alleging “The printing press sends it to the currency chest, the currency chest to the banks, and then the banks rations it to give it to you and me… How does anyone get Rs 34,000 crore in 2000 rupee notes?”

Calling the entire demonetisation exercise as the “biggest scam of the year”, Chidambaram demanded a through probe.

“The government is silent and unable to answer… They are saying Income Tax department is probing it. This is not the matter for the IT to investigate it, this is a criminal matter and there should be a criminal investigation in the matter.”

Raising further questions over the implementation, he added, “It may take seven months to replace notes after demonetisation… You did not do your calculations. That’s why Dr Manmohan Singh called it monumental mismanagement”.

The former finance minister also sought to corner the government over the issue of rural cooperative banks being left out of the exercise, stressing that farmers are suffering for they have no money to buy seeds and fertilizers for new crop.

He also demanded the RBI to publish the minutes of meeting on November 8 and “let country know” who were the directors who attended the meeting.

Calling the decision as “thoughtless” and even “absurd”, Chidambaram argued that every major economist and major newspaper have been critical of the move.

“45 crore people depend on earning a daily income, out of that 15 crore are wage earners and rest 30 crore are daily job workers. All these 45 cr are affected. Who is going to compensate them?… Labourers and daily workers are without workers. Who’ll compensate them?” Chidambaram asked.