At a time when hundreds and thousands of people have to go through the daily ordeal of standing in long queues to withdraw their own hard earned money from banks due to hasty and unplanned decision of the demonetisation of high value currencies, the state government’s move to have a consensus demanding withdrawal of demonetisation could not be arrived due to technical reasons put forward by CPI(M) and Congress in the Assembly on Wednesday.
However, the proposal was passed in the Assembly by 118-45 votes in favour of the ruling party. The CPI(M) refused to accept the proposal as it was directed against “Modi government and not against the Central government.” The Congress could not give support as it was against withdrawal of the decision and wanted its simplification. Earlier, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had requested all the political parties, except BJP to arrive at a consensus on the issue “to give a clear and loud message to the architects of demonetisation.”
Raising the issue, state Finance minister Amit Mitra, alleged: “The way high value notes were demonetised, it clearly indicated that there might have been some hidden agenda behind the whole move.” He said the timing of demonetisation was very important as in the first quarter the GDP recorded 7.3 per cent growth while the second quarter witnessed 7.1 per cent growth and investment was declining. He said the economic adviser of the Prime Minister was kept in the dark about demonetisation. “Modi should tell us now as to who were informed about demonetisation before its announcement. He maintained that Kharif season had gone and in Rabi season the farmers did not have the cash they needed to buy seeds.
Mitra remarked that history had taught us that no one in the world had become successful by demonetising currency notes and it was practiced by the dictators. “Are we heading towards dictatorship?” he questioned.
He said cash holding of black money might be 4 per cent to 6 per cent only. Black money is invested in real estate or used to purchase gold or are kept in foreign banks. After coming to power, Modi had announced that black money would be brought from Swiss Bank but no steps had yet been taken in this regard.
He maintained that the production supply chain in the country has been totally destroyed. Due to lack of funds, more that 70 per cent of the power looms are closed now. The betel nut trade in West Bengal is badly hit due to demonetisation.
Partha Chatterjee commented that demonetisation was the worst political conspiracy. He alleged that the BJP was not willing to give names of those who had money in their election fund. He said the method to implement demonetisation was “wrong and arbitrary. Keeping the whole nation in the dark Modi announced demonetisation. He said BJP should come out with a statement as to how so many acres of land was purchased in Bengal.”
Abdul Mannan the Leader of Opposition said that the method of demonetisation should be simplified to give relief to the people. Sujan Chakraborty of CPI(M) said: “Criticism was levelled against the Centre and not against any particular person and hence, we could not support it.”