Chief Ministers Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday tore into Prime Minister Narendra Modi over demonetisation with the AAP chief asking the government to roll back it in three days while the TMC supremo said such a crisis was not seen even during Emergency.
In her address, Banerjee attacked the Prime Minister and made light of the argument that people should use plastic money, saying only 4 per cent people in India use cards for a transaction.
Asserting that she will continue her fight for the people, Banerjee challenged the government to take any action against her. “I am not scared. I will continue my fight. If you have courage, put me in jail, shoot me.”
Calling her fight against demonetisation a fight to “save the country, a fight for the poor and hungry people”, the West Bengal CM said India had not witnessed such a crisis even during Emergency.
“This decision may take the country 100 years back. The government is coming out with a decision every day. The day before yesterday it was said the limit for exchange is Rs 4,500, today you say it is Rs 2,000.
“The other day it was said indelible ink will have to be put on fingers. What is going on? Are we servants, are we thieves and you are honest. Is everybody a thief?” she said.
On plastic money, Banerjee said the use of cash has been the basis of India’s economy, adding if money does not reach people, then there may be a severe problem of food in the country.
“The Prime Minister who goes abroad so frequently has forgotten the smell of our land...The provisions of the Constitution are being breached. We did not have this kind of a situation during Emergency,” she said.
She also rejected the demand by some opposition parties to set up a Joint Parliamentary Committee to probe demonetisation, saying such committees in the past to probe various issues did not yield any result.
Questioning the government’s commitment to check black money, she also asked what steps it has taken to bring back.
Kejriwal alleged that demonetisation was the “biggest scam” in Independent India’s history while Banerjee said Modi should not run the country through “dictatorship”, calling the protest a fight to save the country.
The Delhi Chief Minister alleged that demonetisation was being carried out to write-off around Rs 8 lakh crore of the loan owed by Modi’s “corporate friends” by collecting Rs 10 lakh crore from the people through the exercise.
“Black money is flooding the market again. Notes are being home delivered to some people. This is independent India’s biggest scam. The government wants to amass Rs 10 lakh crore by forcing the people to deposit their money in banks and use that amount to writing off loans of Modiji’s friends.
“Modiji sent Vijay Mallya, who has huge debt, to London one night. He has also brought people to the streets (following demonetisation). People are being cheated. Why did IT not raid former BJP Minister G Janardana Reddy who spent Rs 500 crores on his daughter’s wedding? And they want us, common people, to spend Rs 2.5 lakh in a wedding,” he said.
After the Azadpur rally, both Chief Ministers drove straight to RBI office in Parliament Street.
Banerjee said they came to RBI to know whether the Central bank has enough currency or not. “Our main apprehension is a shortage of currency. We are here to check whether there is enough cash to disburse among the people.”