A day before the bandh called by 18 Left Front parties, CPM state secretary Surjyakanta Mishra said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who were opposed to bandhs because they led to loss of man-days, should understand that the same was happening with people standing in queues outside banks and ATMs for hours together.
“I want to remind the chief minister and the prime minister that man-days are being lost with people standing in long queues. This will affect the GDP growth of the country. It has been projected that the GDP growth in 2016-17 would come down to 3.5 per cent,” said Mishra on Sunday. The CPM leader also said that replacing Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes — which formed 86 per cent of the currency in circulation and were valued at around Rs 14 lakh crore — would take at least five months, a process for which Modi had asked for 50 days. “Even if the government worked overtime, they would not be able to replace the notes by March. Salaries to labourers, farmers and the working class will definitely be affected,” he said.
The Left has also planned a protest procession for Monday, which they had to reroute, with the starting point being changed from College Square to Moulali Crossing, to avoid a clash with the TMC’s procession. “Mamata Banerjee has pushed her procession to earlier in the day because she has to leave for Lucknow later. When we were in power, we had never put the Opposition in such a situation. We would rather have changed our programme. This shows her mindset and the true intention of her party towards demonetisation,” said Mishra.
Asked if he was confident that the bandh would be a success, he said their aim was to send out a message on behalf of the people. “The situation demands that we call a strike. Ours is a lone voice but it has to be raised in the interest of a billion people. Modi has claimed that demonetisation will curb black money, but we know that those involved in scams like Saradha, Narada and Vyapam will not be affected. It is clear that Modi’s intention was to shift focus of people from his failure to live up to all pre-poll promises.”