Congress protests against demonetisation in Punjab, Haryana
Chandigarh: The Congress Friday held demonstrations across Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh against demonetisation and slammed the BJP-led government at the Centre for "adversely affecting the economy and causing hardships to people" with the "ill-conceived" move.
Congress activists led by Punjab unit chief Sunil Jakhar and Punjab cabinet minister Balbir Singh Sidhu protested near the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) building in Chandigarh's Sector 17 on the second anniversary of demonetisation.
They raised slogans against the Centre describing the exercise as an "anti-people" decision.
Meanwhile, appropriate security arrangements were made by Chandigarh Police which had put up barricades and stationed water cannons near the RBI building.
The Congress activists were stopped at the point where the barricades were installed and not allowed to move near the building.
"Demonetisation badly affected the Indian economy. The decision of scrapping notes (of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000) completely destroyed businesses especially small and medium entrepreneurs," Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Sunil Jakhar said.
"The government had claimed that demonetisation would curb black money. But this move instead benefited capitalists only, he added.
He further said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will be punished for its "anti-people decision" in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The Chandigarh unit of Congress under the leadership of former union minister Pawan Kumar Bansal also held protest in Sector 46.
"The economic situation continues to be bad in the country even after demonetisation was announced two years back. Common people were adversely hit and small businesses were completely destroyed with this move which wrecked the economy," Bansal said.
"It only benefited capitalists who are favourites of the BJP government," he added.
Bansal, the former MP from Chandigarh said another consequence of demonetisation was the rise in the Non Performing Assets (NPA) of the banks which has now reached Rs 10.50 lakh crore.
Demonetisation completely failed in curbing black money and fake currency, he said.
Punjab cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu termed the exercise as a "well-planned dacoity".
It broke the backbone of country's economy and its poor while benefited a select few, he said.
The Congress activists also burnt effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at several places.