Opposition attacks Modi government over demonetisation

New Delhi, Nov 16 (IANS) The NDA government on Wednesday came under severe attack for its demonetisation move with opposition parties accusing it of enforcing the decision without any preparation and causing innumerous hardships to general public.

Participating in a discussion in the Rajya Sabha on demonetisation of currency, Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma termed the decision as “Nadirshahi farman” (autocratic order).

He also demanded a probe into “selective leakage” of the demonetisation move and asked what the government did to prepare for the policy’s effective implementation.

Sharma sought to know from the government which law gave it the the right to impose limits on people from withdrawing money from their own accounts.

“I condemn PM’s statement in Goa for mocking the people who are standing in queues. He must apologise. An atmosphere has been created by the government where questioning them has become a parameter to decide one’s nationalism,” he said.

The Congress leader said if the government-run State Bank of India (SBI) knew about the demonetisation move in March, why did it not make preparations like recalibrating ATMs and arranging sufficient cash in smaller denominations.

He also took a dig at the government for using the term “surgical strike” in the context of demonetisation and the unplanned consequences of the move. “Bina doctori padhe sab surgeon ban gaye (You became a surgeon without training or education).”

Ram Gopal Yadav, who was recently expelled from the Samajwadi Party, expressed concern over the prevailing situation in the country following the demonetisation of currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000.

He said farmers and people living in the villages are the most affected and something should be done to ease the situation.

“It’s a difficult situation. It’s also a marriage season in the country… farmers are suffering, they are forced to sell their products at lower prices,” he said.

Sharad Yadav of the Janata Dal-United, Sitaram Yechury of the Communist Party of India-Marxist and Mayawati, chief of the Bahujan Samaj Party, also echoed similar sentiments over the issue.

Sharad Yadav said the “whole country has been made to stand in the queue” of the banks, and suggested that a meeting of all chief ministers should be called to discuss the issue and find a way out.

“Here in Delhi, the banks are unable to execute your order, leave alone banks rendering any service to people in rural areas,” he said, and also demanded a probe into allegations of “selective leakage” of the move.

Yechury said the government does not know anything about the difficulties being faced by the public.

“What are you doing to the country,” he asked.

He said that terror funding has to be stopped, “but this is not the way to do it”.

“Immediately, till alternative arrangements are made, allow these (currency) notes (to be accepted),” he said.

Mayawati said that she does not oppose the decision but the government should ensure smooth functioning of the economy as the situation now looked like an “economic emergency”.

“It (demonetisation) has created an atmosphere of a ‘Bharat Bandh’,” she said, adding that many people have died because of the move.