LEADERS OF opposition parties in the state were unanimous in their criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to demonetise currency notes of Rs 500 and 1,000 in a bid to combat corruption. State CPM Secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra at a press conference on Wednesday said that while Modi had assured he would bring the black money stashed overseas, his Tuesday move would not facilitate that. “Seeing that his promises remained unfulfilled after two and a half years, creating dissatisfaction among people, he decided to go for this stunt. He had also related so-called terrorism with this, which makes us apprehensive about what he actually meant,” said Mishra.
The CPM leader called the “surprise” move a strategy to gain political dividends ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. “There is a joke doing the rounds on social media that the Modi government has had two of three talaqs in Delhi and Bihar, while the third and final one will happen in UP next year,” he said.
State Congress president Adhir Chowdhury said that demonetisation was nothing new, but the political angle behind it was what remained to be seen. “Demonetisation does not ensure that black money in the country has been stamped out. Besides, what was the reason behind this stunt in a guerrilla manner? It has only triggered panic among the common people who are suffering the consequences,” he told The Indian Express.
He added that there was no adequate banking infrastructure to deal with the crisis.
Chowdhury also said that the ruling TMC government had been very quick to react to Modi’s move.
“That is because while it was inconvenient for the people, it is a matter of serious concern for TMC leaders because all the money earned through illicit means, be it illegal mining, cow-smuggling or syndicates, has been stashed away in cash, mainly in denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000. They are at their wits’ end about how to deal with the situation,” he alleged.
State BJP president Dilip Ghosh, however, said that a little inconvenience was inevitable in any historic decision.
“Political leaders here oppose Modi for the sake of opposing. All other political parties, Congress, CPM and TMC, had been running a parallel economy with the help of money earned illegally. That has taken a direct hit. The PM is also in talks with agencies abroad to bring in black money stashed in foreign banks,” he said.