New Delhi: RJD president Lalu Prasad on Saturday said demonetization would meet the fate of ‘Nasbandi’ of the Congress rule and announced protest across Bihar on December 28.
During a day-long meeting of RJD MPs, ministers, legislators and office-bearers, Prasad and other leaders of the party highlighted people’s woes following the scrapping of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes. Addressing the RJD leaders, Prasad criticised the move and said, “It will meet the fate of ‘nasbandi’ (forced sterilisation) during the Congress rule in the past.” Prasad and his party have been on the forefront of protest against the demonetization decision inside and outside Parliament.
Several prominent RJD leaders had shared dais with TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamafta Banerjee during her demonstration against demonetization in Patna on November 30, though Prasad himself was not present. Asked how he saw Nitish Kumar getting praise from Centre on demonetization, Prasad, whose RJD is a partner in the grand alliance government, said, “Nitish Kumar’s approach is similar to our’s…all of us are standing together against hardship caused to masses due to high-value currency invalidation.” Nitish Kumar and his party JD(U), which has supported demonetization, had kept away from Banerjee’s demonstration.
Economist Mohan Guruswamy, who was advisor in the NDA government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, was also invited to speak on adverse impact of demonetization. Guruswamy gave a detailed slide presentation with the help of data and charts to tell RJD leaders how demonetization would cause a drop of 2.5 per cent in the country’s GDP by the end of the current fiscal. In the meeting Prasad, Tejaswi Yadav, Abdul Bari Siddiqui, who is the finance minister in the Nitish Kumar government, and a host of senior leaders spke on the woes of poor people and farmers standing outside banks and ATMs for withdrawal of cash. Prasad said, “After the December-28 dharna, leaders of all the parties, national as well regional, would be invited to a rally later in Patna.” He said the date of the rally would be announced later.
Making a scathing attack at the Prime Minister, the RJD chief said “after seeing that demonetization is failing, the PM has shifted the issue now and is talking about cashless, PayTm.” “On the one hand the PM talks of going ahead of China and on the another hand he is favouring a company (PayTm) in which the Chinese have a major share,” he said. During over half-an-hour of presentation, Guruswamy said though former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had predicted a fall of two per cent in the GDP due to demonetization, his view is that the decline would amount to about 2.5 per cent by the end of the financial year.
Guruswamy claimed, “22 crore daily workers have been adversely affected by the demonetization.” He said of the total amount of unaccounted money, only 4 per cent is in the form of cash while major chunk of 46 per cent is invested in land and building, 26 per cent in jewellery and 24 per cent is parked abroad. “Modi is after only this 4 per cent of the black money which is in the form of cash which could not bear any result other than causing miseries to common people, especially the daily wagers,” he added.
“Approximately Rs 30 crore of black money is expected to be unearthed through the demonetization. A total of Rs 42,000 crore would be spent in reprinting this volume of scrapped notes,” Guruswamy, who taught Economics at Harvard University, said. Handing over a pamphlet with views of Guruswamy on note scrapping, Prasad told RJD workers to hold “jan jagran” (public awareness meeting) at grassroots level from December 20-26 to make them aware of truth of demonetization.