Protest Over Currency Ban Tomorrow, No Bharat Bandh: Congress

New Delhi: Congress today made it clear it has not called for a ‘Bharat bandh’ tomorrow, but will hold protests across the country against demonetisation, which it alleged “was a political move being sold as a fight against corruption”.

Speaking to reporters in Delhi, party leader Jairam Ramesh said Prime Minister Narendra Modi believes in “dhamaka” politics and the decision to scrap high-value currency notes was taken because he had seen the “writing on the wall” in Uttar Pradesh, where polls are due next year.

He claimed that Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 500 notes were scrapped to cover up the government’s failure to deliver on the Prime Minister’s big electoral promise of bringing back black money stashed abroad and PM Modi wanted to do something “dramatic”.

“It is a political move which is being sold as a fight against corruption,” Mr Ramesh said hitting out at the Centre.

He said people who have amassed wealth by illegal means are not suffering, but those who do not have black money are facing hardships.

“Unfortunately, people who needed to be attacked have gone scot-free,” he said, adding that one section of “suited-booted” people was still leading a life of luxury.

Mr Ramesh, a former Union Cabinet minister, claimed that BJP was spreading misinformation that Congress and other parties have called for a ‘Bharat bandh’.

The Opposition parties will hold protests across the country by observing “Jan Aakrosh Diwas”, he said.

Taking a swipe at the Modi government, he said economic activity has anyway come to a standstill since November 9.

Asked what will be the Opposition’s strategy in Parliament, Mr Ramesh said a debate will happen if the Prime Minister participates in it.

The Congress leader also questioned government’s preparedness to bring in new currency notes, saying that according to estimates, it may take up to 250 days to print new notes and bring economy back on the track.

He also criticised the Prime Minister’s call for a “cashless” or “lesscash” society, saying that in India, a majority of people use cash for daily transactions.”

“Such things take time and cannot be forced by giving shocks,” Mr Ramesh said.