Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of reducing India to a “banana republic” by imposing demonetisation, the opposition on Wednesday asked him to apologise for the move, a demand the government was quick to dismiss averring that it was in the country’s interest. The opposition also termed as “immature” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s remark that its members were not taking part in discussion on demonetisation in the House, but were using the issue for “getting footage on TV”, and said the situation was otherwise and it was Modi who wanted to be seen on television.
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On the BJP parliamentary party passing a resolution claiming public support for demonetisation, the opposition leaders asked the ruling party “to check ground realities” first and stressed that the people continue to reel under hardships. “The impression that has gone worldwide post demonetisation is that money that was there with housewives, labourers, salaried employees was black money. India’s image has been hit. Even the foreign tourists coming to India, embassies are not getting money,” Congress leader Anand Sharma told reporters outside the Parliament.
“We have been reduced to a banana republic. This responsibility lies with one person: the Prime Minister. He should apologise for (what) he has inflicted upon people of the country,” he said. Sharma said Jaitley’s statement was “very unfortunate and immature” and that it should have been avoided. “(Rather it is) the Prime Minister who wants to be seen on TV all the time, so does the Finance Minister. What do they expect? That the opposition has no right to question, criticise wrong decisions?” he asked.
Echoing Sharma, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said it is “only the Prime Minister who is seen there on TV.” Referring to the BJP parliamentary party resolution, the Rajya Sabha MP suggested the ruling party should do a reality check as he noted that the poor continued to suffer post withdrawal of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes.
“People are suffering. When such issue is raised, they are saying our opposition is for TV footage,” Yechury said. Yechury flayed the BJP parliamentary party for passing a resolution, condemning opposition parties for not letting the Parliament function, and said it is the Prime Minister who is not letting it function. BSP chief Mayawati reiterated that the Centre announced demonetisation “sans any preparation”.