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Opp parties escalate attack on PM over currency ban
Rollback not in Modi’s blood, says govt
New Delhi: A united opposition on Wednesday protested against demonetisation outside Parliament as Mamata Banerjee hit the streets of Delhi once again demanding the Prime Minister’s ouster as “country was not safe in his hands”, but the government ruled out revoking the exercise, declaring rolling back something is “not in Modi’s blood”.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, who had taken up cudgels against Modi on the issue, termed demonetisation of high-value currency notes as the world’s “biggest impromptu financial experiment” about which even the Finance Minister and the Chief Economic Adviser were clueless before the announcement was made.
He reaffirmed the demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into alleged leak of demonetisation decision prior to its announcement by Modi, and participation of the Prime Minister in a debate on the exercise.
Opposition MPs including those of Congress, SP, BSP, TMC, DMK, CPI, CPI(M) and some others staged a demonstration near Mahatma Gandhi’s statue outside Parliament.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, whose party had taken the lead in uniting the opposition against the government on the issue, was in Delhi again after a gap of a few days and led a protest by four other parties at Jantar Mantar where she gave a call for Modi’s ouster.
As nearly 200 opposition MPs staged protest outside Parliament, Rahul said, “What the PM has done is the biggest impromptu financial experiment in the world. He did not ask anyone. Finance Minister did not know. The Chief Economic Adviser did not know. This decision is not that of Finance Minister. This is the Prime Minister’s decision.
Unfazed by the protests and continued stalling of Parliament, government rejected outright the possibility of withdrawing the exercise midway. “Wapas lena Modi ji ke khoon mein nahi hai (Roll back is not in Modiji’s blood,” Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu asserted, making clear that the decision to withdraw the old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes “will not be taken back in any situation”.
Naidu, however, said the government was “ready to make improvements” in easing the difficulties faced by the common people and asked the opposition parties to make suggestions that could be implemented.
Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav accused Modi of being “too arrogant”.In his address, JD-U leader Sharad Yadav questioned the legality of the demonetisation exercise and challenged the Prime Minister to explain to the Parliament how the decision will benefit the country.
The protest was also addressed by SP’s Dharmendra Yadav, AAP’s Raghav Chadha and NCP’s Majid Memon.
Shiv Sena, which had joined a march led by Mamata Banerjee to Rashtrapati Bhawan to petition the President against demonetisation, did not attend the protest. The Sena, a ruling NDA partner at the Centre and in Maharashtra, said though it supported the government over demonetisation, it was concerned about the inconvenience being caused to the people. (PTI)