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Cong dials TMC, Didi taps Sita, Kejri, Lalu

Mamata briefs Pranab on 'people's suffering'

By Our Bureau
  • Published 14.11.16
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(Clockwise from top left) Mamata Banerjee, Lalu Prasad, Arvind Kejriwal and Ghulam Nabi Azad

Nov. 13: The Congress has invited Opposition parties, including Trinamul, to a meeting in Parliament tomorrow over the demonetisation drive.

The meeting will be chaired by the Congress's Ghulam Nabi Azad, the leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha.

Sources said Trinamul Lok Sabha MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay was likely to attend the meeting. They said Congress Lok Sabha leader Mallikarjun Kharge had called up Bandyopadhyay and requested him to be present. According to the sources, Trinamul chief Mamata Banerjee had instructed Rajya Sabha MP Derek O'Brien to accompany Bandyopadhyay.

The participants at the meeting could mostly be from the Congress, Trinamul and the Aam Aadmi Party, according to the sources.

Before the Congress's plans were made public, Bengal chief minister Mamata had said she called up President Pranab Mukherjee today and "briefed" him about "how common people are suffering because of the demonetisation". She has cancelled her Bankura trip tomorrow and is expected to visit Delhi by Tuesday evening to meet the President.

Mamata is said to have got in touch with several Opposition leaders, such as CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal and RJD boss Lalu Prasad, requesting them to unite against the Centre to protest the demonetisation drive and "jointly take up with the President the difficulties the common people are facing because of the sudden decision".

In a series of tweets this evening, Mamata said the President had agreed to meet representatives of political parties on November 16 or 17, "where we will brief him in detail on the grim situation".

Sources close to Lalu said he had promised to send a representative of his party to the meeting with the President.

In tweets after speaking to Mamata, Lalu said: "We are opposed to black money. But the Prime Minister's handling of the issue completely lacked the vision for implementation. He should have taken care of common people's convenience."

Referring to a pre-election promise of the BJP that party national president Amit Shah later dubbed " jumla (a manner of speaking)" and clubbing it with a pledge Narendra Modi made today to weed out corruption, Lalu tweeted that if no action was taken, it would mean the demonetisation was a "farji-cal strike (fake drive)".

"Modi must assure the nation that the people would get the promised Rs 15 lakh to Rs 20 lakh in their bank accounts after Modi is over with the 50-day deadline for ending corruption. If the people fail to get the promised amount in their bank accounts, it would mean that Modi's action was a farji-cal strike," Lalu said.

The RJD chief said if Modi failed to ensure Rs 15 lakh to Rs 20 lakh in each citizen's account, it would amount to "fake encounter" of the people.

Earlier today, Mamata had retweeted a post by Delhi chief minister Kejriwal, where the AAP leader dubbed "biggest insult to the people standing in queues" Modi's statement that "those involved in big scams now have to stand in long queues to take out Rs 4,000".

Asked about Mamata's plans of meeting Mukherjee, several Trinamul leaders drew attention to the fact that the President had welcomed Modi's demonetisation announcement.

A Rashtrapati Bhavan statement had said: "President Mukherjee welcomed the bold step taken by the government, which will help unearth unaccounted money as well as counterfeit currency."

In one of her tweets today, Mamata said: "The Hon President was kind enough to take my call now. I briefed him about how common people are suffering because of demonetisation."