Five political parties, a handful of supporters and a belligerent chief minister predicting demonetisation of high-denomination currencies to be the nemesis of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. That, in short, was the Trinamool Congress’s sit-in at Jantar Mantar on Wednesday.
Taking a dig at the smartphone-based NaMo App survey to get public opinion on the issue of scrapping Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currencies, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee challenged Modi to hold an “election on demonetisation” rather than an online poll. “They (BJP-led NDA) came to power promising ‘acche din’ and are now looting notes…this government has lost all credibility, nothing more will happen to it now,” she said. “If you have the courage, let’s have an election on this (demonetisation) and not an online poll.”
WATCH VIDEO: Mamata Banerjee Compares Centre’s Demonetisation Move To Hitler’s Rule
The Trinamool protest was one of three at Jantar Mantar, and Banerjee was joined on stage by Sharad Yadav from JD(U), Majeed Memon from the NCP, Dharmendra Yadav and Jaya Bachchan from the Samajwadi Party, and Raghav Chaddha of the Aam Aadmi Party.
Emphasising that she will take these protests to all parts of the country, Banerjee said, “I will go wherever I get a call from. I will go to Lucknow, to Punjab, to Gujarat…and I will talk about people’s sufferings. They (government) will put me in jail? Let them; I will get some rest there. Even if you shoot at us Modi-ji, this agitation will go on.”
Replying to a question about whether she would meet the Prime Minister, Banerjee said, “We are in a democracy and dialogue is a part of democracy.”
Although a section of the TMC is speculating about a possible “outreach” from the Prime Minister’s Office, sources said there has so far been no communication from the government’s side, barring the all-party meeting on Thursday. Banerjee is expected to be in Delhi on Thursday as well.
She accused the Modi government of deliberately trying to scuttle the meeting, asking the PM what will happen to tea garden workers and others from the working class. Alleging that Modi is now fighting an “ego” battle, Banerjee said in his place she would have apologised to the people and rolled back the decision rather than label 86 per cent of Indians as “black marketeers”. “This is just the beginning. We are preparing for an agitation that will open your eyes and ears,” she said.
Sharad Yadav recalled the Emergency and spoke about how people jailed during those trying times taught a lesson to the Congress once elections were held. “Congress ka nasbandi ho gaya thha, ye notebandi…aap jayange notebandi pe (Congress was vasectomised, you will go because of demonetisation),” he said.