Top Opposition leaders on Tuesday sharpened their attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over note ban woes with former finance minister P Chidambaram calling it the “biggest scam” of the year that needed to be probed, while Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee saying it was a big setback for commoners and workers.
Flagging the impact of demonetisation on the ground, Chidambaram dubbed it as a “thoughtless move”, “the worst assault” on the poor and worse than natural calamity for them while Gandhi said Modi’s vision of a cashless economy has rendered the poor “cashless”, robbing them of their hard- earned money.
Before banning high-value notes, Chidambaram said Modi should at least have consulted his “own man” Yashwant Sinha so the “monumental mismanagement” could have been avoided.
Demonetisation has broken the back of 45 crore people. It is punishing the poor. I see no rich man affected by the ban,” the Congress leader told a press meet in Nagpur. “Daily wagers are out of work. Village markets and mandis have been shut for the last 30 days “ Chidambaram said.
Chidambaram while terming the exercise as “absurd” and “thoughtless” in a scathing attack on the Modi government sought to know how many economies in the world are cashless.
Slamming the Centre’s demonetisation move, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said the “draconian” decision had drastically affected about five crore workers in the country.
“Crores of people have become the victims of the visionless policy. It’s a major catastrophe. The draconian decision has drastically affected about five crore workers,” she said in a statement.
Banerjee claimed that the decision is a huge setback for workers and that 1.25 crore workers in the unorganised sector, e-commerce, leather, jute, textiles, glass, beedi, gems and jewellery, and daily wage earners under schemes like MNREGA either lost jobs or had been seriously affected by the cash crunch.
“In big industries, a retrenchment process is going on, which has made or will make huge number of workers jobless,” she said in her criticism of the demonetisation move.
“I can feel the extensive suffering and ordeal that these people are going through now. It is a matter of great concern,” she said.
Earlier in the day, Banerjee tweeted, “Demonetisation is a major setback for commoners and maximum setback for workers.
Crores of people have become victims of a visionless policy.”
Taking a vox-pop-style referendum on demonetisation among people standing in a bank queue in Dadri in Uttar Pradesh, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi charged that the announcement by Modi on November 8 has enabled the conversion of black money into white.
The Congress Vice President alleged that the NDA government has “blocked” the money of the poor through currency ban to favour a “handful of industrialists” and to liquidate banks that have extended loans worth “Rs 8 lakh crore” to them.
Addressing a gathering at a wholesale market, Gandhi said, “The Prime Minister has brought honest people on the streets while the rich and the corrupt are taking money through the backdoor of banks.