Congress flays demonetisation on 2nd anniversary

New Delhi: Hundreds of Delhi Congress workers marched to the Reserve Bank of India office here on Friday on the occasion of the second anniversary of demonetisation, denouncing the great note-change exercise as “ill-fated” and “destructive” to the economy and the people of the country.

Addressing party workers, Congress leader Ajay Maken said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi “betrayed” the people through a “hasty, faulty implementation ” of demonetisation, which could neither end corruption, nor finish off terrorism.

“… even two years after demonetisation, neither corruption has ended, nor black money unearthed, or terrorism wiped out. Even now, black money was being unearthed in the country while corruption has gone up, defeating the very purpose for which Modi had implemented demonetisation,” Maken was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the party.

The former Delhi Transport Minister said that because of the note ban, lakhs of people were rendered jobless, and forced to return to their villages.

He said that demonetisation was done only to please the Prime Minister, and that the “ill-planned” exercise led to the death of 150 people “who died lining up before banks and ATMs across the country”.

The Congress said that the protest was to highlight the “miseries of the nation” since the last two years.

“It is a protest against failed demonetisation of Modi government where common people of the nation suffered its grave consequences,” it said.

The police detained the protesters and took them to Parliament Street Police Station.

All India Mahila Congress President Sushmita Dev tweeted: “Arrested from outside the RBI. Never seen Delhi Police act so fast against growing crime as they did in arresting us for protesting against demonetisation disaster.”

Apart from Dev, Congress leaders Ashok Gehlot, Anand Sharma, Mukul Wasnik, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Keshav Yadav, Manish Chatrath and Naseeb Singh were among those detained by the police.

The Congress party also held demonstrations in Guwahati, Chandigarh, Odisha, Karnataka, Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) against the Centre’s decision to demonetise 500-rupee and 1,000-rupee notes in 2016.

On Thursday, Congress President Rahul Gandhi had called the note ban a “cruel conspiracy” and a “criminal financial scam”.

Other opposition leaders including Trinamool Congress Chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also attacked the Modi government, saying the note ban had harmed the informal economy.

On November 8, 2016, Prime Minister Modi announced that 500-rupee and 1000-rupee currency notes were no longer valid, as the government sought to root out corruption, unearth black money, and curb terrorism.