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Business News/ Politics / Policy/  Opposition unites over demonetization

Opposition unites over demonetization

Calling the partial demonetization move anti-poor, the Trinamool Congress, led by West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, has given notice for a discussion in the Rajya Sabha

TMC supporters protest against the centre’s move to withdraw Rs500, Rs1,000 notes, in Siliguri, West Bengal on Thursday. Photo: AFPPremium
TMC supporters protest against the centre’s move to withdraw Rs500, Rs1,000 notes, in Siliguri, West Bengal on Thursday. Photo: AFP

New Delhi: With less than a week to go for the winter session of Parliament, the non-Congress opposition is uniting to take on the government over the partial demonetization move.

Calling it anti-poor, the Trinamool Congress, led by West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, has given notice for a discussion in the Rajya Sabha.

It has found support from Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the Samajwadi Party (SP) led by Mulayam Singh Yadav, Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPM and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

It is, however, a risky stand, given that the government packaged the demonetization as an anti-corruption exercise.

The CPM in a statement on Wednesday alleged that the move will burden ordinary people—such as daily wage labourers, fishermen, small businesses, traders and vendors selling at the door step—and increase bureaucratic harassment of these people.

UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday urged the government to arrange special camps in rural areas.

Regional parties in UP, where assembly elections are due early next year, have alleged that the government’s decision is aimed at diverting public attention from what it called its inefficiency.

“Economic emergency like situations have been created by the government to hide their inefficiency. Poor people, middle class citizens, small businesses and farmers have been hit the most and not the people who have black money," BSP chief Mayawati told reporters in Lucknow.

She said the government had waited two-and-a-half years and announced the move ahead of the upcoming polls.

“The government has spread anarchy in entire country, common man is not even able to buy daily products. We also want to bring back black money and utilise it in the development of our nation and stop using black money in elections. BJP promised to bring back black money in their election campaigns, but after public pressure they banned Rs500 and 1000 notes," SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said on Thursday.

Besides UP, polls are also due in Punjab, Goa, Uttarakhand and Manipur next year.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has also questioned the move to introduce Rs2,000 notes after scrapping Rs1,000 and Rs500 notes.

Analysts said that the issue has given timely ammunition to opposition parties as it affects the common man.

“First they are criticising the move as a flawed policy and secondly, it is hitting the common man, making their (opposition parties’) case stronger," said Manisha Priyam, a New Delhi-based political analyst.

Analysts also said opposition’s problem was with the modus operandi rather than the decision.

“There was no other way to implement the decision successfully but to announce its immediate implementation. The move has impacted Uttar Pradesh elections. Crores of rupees in unaccounted money which would have otherwise been pumped into the Uttar Pradesh elections is now under the scanner. It is a huge set back to parties for poll preparations who were caught off-guard. As for parties who do not have a stake in the UP election, the problem is that they were not given enough time to prepare for this situation," said A.K. Verma, a Kanpur-based political analyst.

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Published: 11 Nov 2016, 12:37 AM IST
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