AAP, TMC demand demonetisation rollback, opposition slams government for long queues (Roundup)

New Delhi, Nov 12 (IANS) The opposition parties on Saturday said the central government’s move to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes had caused enormous hardship to people, with the Aam Aadmi Party and Trinamool Congress demanding its rollback.

Delhi Chief Minister and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal said demonetisation will not bring black money into the banking system but only result in it changing hands. West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee termed it a hasty decision while her Uttar Pradesh counterpart Akhilesh Yadav said it was a very badly executed move.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who addressed a press conference in the national capital on Saturday, said some reactions of political parties were “irresponsible” and some of them were “feeling the pain”.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi appealed to his party workers to help common people as they stood in serpentine queues outside banks to get currency notes exchanged.

“It is my appeal to all the Congress workers that they should help people in the queues outside banks specially senior citizens and the ones finding it difficult to fill the form,” Gandhi said in a tweet.

Congress leader and former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said the move was not demonetisation but “old notes for new” and a Central Board of Direct Taxes report had advised against it.

“This scheme is not demonetisation. This is ‘Old Notes for New’. Unprepared government pushes common people into misery and despair,” Chidambaram said in a tweet.

“The half-baked plan has benefited only touts and middlemen. Government should publish the 2012 CBDT report that advised against demonetisation,” he added.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had advised the Centre to avoid issuing Rs 2,000 currency notes, saying it would bring more harm to the public than benefit.

Another Congress leader Kapil Sibal said the government had acted “in haste and in an unplanned” manner.

He targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and termed the demonetisation a ‘jumla’.

Sibal said people were facing inconvenience due to the government’s move as there were long queues outside banks and ATMs to deposit or exchange their spiked currency or take out cash.

“Account is mine, money is mine, then why should I stand in a line,” asked Sibal.

Arvind Kejriwal alleged that those close to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were already aware of the government’s move and had taken care of their black money before Tuesday night’s announcement.

Demanding withdrawal of the decision, Kejriwal said the economy will collapse in the coming days if the decision was not withdrawn.

“The black money will only change hands. For example, a person having Rs 10 crore worth of black money will not deposit in bank. Because he will be charged 30 per cent tax and 200 per cent penalty on that, leaving him with only Rs 1 crore,” Kejriwal told reporters.

Kejriwal, who also visited Azadpur wholesale vegetable market, later tweeted that the Prime Minister should take action against the “big and powerful corrupt” rather than harass the ‘aam aadmi’ (common man).

Mamata Banerjee, who visited banks and ATMs in Kolkata, said the decision has been taken without prior planning.

“Some people are standing for four-five hours. All are common people. There are youth, employees, shopkeepers, housewives, students, self-employed people, and I don’t see them having black money. This is a black policy of the black government,” Banerjee said.

Banerjee tweeted later and demanded the “draconian decision” of demonetisation should be withdrawn.

“Visited many public/private sector banks, 50 ATMs in Kolkata. People complaining. No 100/50 Rs. After hours in queue people only receive a Rs 2,000 note…How will they use this one 2,000 note for all daily needs? Total chaos, anger,” she tweeted.

Akhilesh Yadav, speaking at an event in Lucknow, said common people were being put to trouble standing in long queues and still not getting their own hard earned money.

He said the move is not only badly planned but rolled out in an even worse manner.

The central government had announced on Tuesday that it was demonetising Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.