Monday, 30th October 2017

E- paper

Congress on DeMo: Won’t forget or forgive

The party also posted several videos of PM Narendra Modi’s speeches, exposing the confusion and bungling by the govt

By Sanjay K. Jha in New Delhi
  • Published 9.11.19, 6:40 AM
  • Updated 9.11.19, 6:40 AM
  • 3 mins read
  •  
Activists of Assam Pradesh Congress Committee raise slogans during a protest against demonetisation, outside a head post office in Dibrugarh, Friday, November 8, 2019. (PTI)

The Congress on Friday said it was now proven beyond doubt that demonetisation had inflicted immeasurable damage on the country and lamented that people responsible for the blunder had not yet been brought to book.

While the Congress and its frontal organisations held demonstrations in many cities on the third anniversary of demonetisation, senior party leaders recalled the deaths and devastation caused by the thoughtless decision that continues to have an adverse impact on the economy. The party also posted several videos of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speeches, exposing the confusion and bungling by the government.

Party president Sonia Gandhi said in a statement: “Three years on, demonetisation is perhaps the single most appropriate metaphor for the BJP’s ill-conceived ‘governance model’. It was a preposterous measure fuelled by false propaganda, which did untold damage to innocent and trusting countrymen. This, in a nutshell, is a summary of the Modi government’s approach to governance.”

Sonia said: “Yet, despite all the empty rhetoric about holding himself accountable, the Prime Minister and his colleagues never once took responsibility for — or even acknowledged — this faux pas that claimed over 120 lives, proved a death knell for India’s medium & small businesses, snatched the livelihoods of India’s farmers and reduced millions of families to the very margins of poverty.”

Describing demonetisation as a “Tughlaki blunder” that was “inflicted by a tyrannical government hell-bent upon attacking livelihoods and lives of its own people”, the Congress president added: “No matter how much the Modi government may try and evade responsibility for this ludicrous and short-sighted measure, the nation and its people will ensure that they are held accountable. The Prime Minister and his colleagues have stopped speaking about demonetisation since 2017, hoping that the nation will forget. Unfortunately for them, the Congress will ensure that neither the nation nor history forgives or forgets. Because unlike the BJP, we serve in the national interest.”

Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “It’s three years since the demonetisation terror attack that devastated the Indian economy, taking many lives, wiping out lakhs of small businesses & leaving millions of Indians unemployed. Those behind this vicious attack have yet to be brought to justice.”

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said: “Three years since demonetisation, and every claim made by the government and those hailing it as a slayer of all evils has been turned on its head. It proved to be a disaster that has all but destroyed our economy. Anyone want to claim responsibility?”

The Congress president’s statement recalled how Modi’s pronouncements on black money, fake currency and terror had turned out to be false claims. She said: “The BJP government even told the Supreme Court that Rs 3 lakh crore of black money will be purged as it would not return into the system. Subsequently, the Prime Minister added the objective of abolition of cash currency usage and to replace it with a digital economy. Three years later, Modi has failed spectacularly on all these counts.”

Sonia said: “The simple question being asked by every Indian is, ‘What did the demonetisation achieve?’ What it did instead, was to wipe out over one crore jobs from the economy (and still counting), take the unemployment rate to a 45-year high, shaved two full percentage points off GDP growth and ensured that India’s international rating moved from ‘stable’ to ‘negative’.

“It is now widely acknowledged as a herculean blunder by independent economists and taught, across the world, as a cautionary tale of ‘what governments should not do’.”

Asked why the Congress was raking up the issue when the people had delivered their judgement in elections, party spokesperson Ajay Maken said at a media conference: “Modiji raised other issues in the election to divert people’s attention. And election results do not mean the Opposition party will abandon real issues. Is it not true demonetisation failed in all its objectives and wreaked havoc on the economy? Didn’t 120 people die, millions of jobs were destroyed and GDP growth slowed down by 2 per cent, as predicted by Manmohan Singh?”

Maken added: “While all the stated objectives failed, the economy lies in ruin….”

Mamata

Calcutta: Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday described demonetisation as a “futile exercise” and said the Centre’s decision had ruined the economy.

“Today is the third anniversary of #DeMonetisationDisaster. Within minutes of announcement, I had said that it will ruin the economy and the lives of millions. Renowned economists, common people & all experts now agree. Figures from RBI have also shown it was a futile exercise,” Mamata tweeted, adding that everyone had been affected.