West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee upped her criticism of the BJP-led government on the issue of demonetisation of Rs 1, 000 and Rs 500 denominations and urged all political parties, including her arch rivals the CPI-M – to “unite” against the Centre’s “anti poor” policy.
While speaking in Kolkata, Banerjee said that the government had taken the move without proper planning and was dangerous. “For the betterment of the people and the country I appeal to all the Opposition parties to come together. If needed we will work together with the CPI(M) with whom we have basic differences and ideological issues,” she said at a press conference at the State Secretariat.
Banerjee’s entire political career has, in the past, been based on the opposition of the Left, which had been in power for over three decades until she took charge in 2011. This is the first time that she has stated clearly her willingness to work with the CPI(M). Left leaders, meanwhile, refused to comment on the issue.
Previously Banerjee had moved from one ATM in the city to another, walking furiously and asking people about the problems they were facing. She urged people, standing in queues, to be patient and had promised them that she would protest the issue. “I personally visited several banks today to listen to tales of hardship of common people. More than two lakh ATMs are closed, money is not available; people are facing lot of problems,” said Banerjee.
Banerjee went on to say that the Modi government had no “moral right” to continue in power and branded the move as “anti people, anti poor”, “black decision” of a “black government”. “Only 1 % people hold black money; why are the other 99% being harassed for this,” said Banerjee adding that it is a betrayal with people.
She went on to attack PM Narendra Modi, after his remarks of further action following December, from Japan. She asked whether Modi was threatening the imposition of an emergency or using the Army against opposition parties. “Ro raha hai Hindustan, Aap Gaya Japan” (The whole country is crying while you are in Japan),” she said targeting the PM.
In reference to CPM’s allegation that the BJP’s state unit knew about the government’s decision as it deposited Rs 1 crore at a nationalised bank here (all in Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes) on November 8, just hours before Modi’s announcement, Banerjee said, “A sudden midnight decision was taken. But few people in the ruling party knew about it.”
Banerjee welcomed the stand taken by Opposition parties, including Congress, AAP, BSP and SP against the demonetisation. Earlier in the day, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal alleged the ruling BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi alerted their ‘friends’ before announcing the move to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes. Calling it a ‘big scam’ in the name of fight against black money, Kejriwal said the government’s intention is wrong. He said there have been big bank deposits in the last quarter and that these depositors were warned by the government before the demonetisation move.
TMC has given notice in the Rajya Sabha for a discussion on the demonetisation issue on November 16, the opening day of winter session in the Parliament. TMC leader in Lok Sabha Sudip Bandopadhyay has said the party would bring an adjournment motion in the house on the same day.