Home >Politics >Policy >Mamata Banerjee says demonetisation brought people to ‘brink of disaster’

Kolkata/New Delhi: Two months after the demonetisation move, the Narendra Modi government is still in the crosshairs of the opposition with West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee saying people were on the “brink of disaster" and urged President Pranab Mukherjee to intervene while former prime minister Manmohan Singh asserted it will adversely affect India’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Dubbing demonetisation as a “shameless flop show", Banerjee asked the common people to rise in protest even as Trinamool Congress (TMC) activists staged dharnas in front of Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) office in Kolkata as well as Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) office besides many places in the districts in West Bengal.

Banerjee while announcing the “nationwide protests" against demonetisation from Monday claimed that the CBI was being used to victimise her party, accusing the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government of turning CBI into a “Conspiracy Bureau of India".

Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the surprise announcement banning high value notes on 8 November. “I urge the President, who is the constitutional head of the country, that if some government through its arbitrary decisions takes the country to the brink of disaster, as the protector of the Constitution give protection to the people and save the people," the Trinamool Congress chief said.

“Famine has started. Indications of the beginning of the famine are coming. So save the people. If people don’t survive then nothing will happen," she said while inaugurating the ‘Mati Utsav’ (Soil Festival) in Burdwan. Asking the common people to rise in protest, Banerjee said, “there will be some hardship, but someone has to bell the cat. Trinamool Congress will do that". “We will take care of all the hardship that may befall us owing to our protests," she said.

Earlier in a series of tweets, she demanded lifting of the restrictions imposed from time to time by the Centre. “Restrictions should be removed. Hardships being faced by millions due to #DeMonetisation", she said. “Trinamool Congress is organising nationwide protest against Modi babu’s shameless flop-show #NoteBandi," she wrote in another tweet. Banerjee said protest dharna is being held for three days from today in Bengal, Bhubaneswar, Punjab, Kishanganj (Bihar), Manipur, Tripura, Assam, Jharkhand and Delhi.

She claimed that her party and its leaders were being victimised for protesting against the demonetisation of high value notes and its fallout. “They (Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Centre) have turned the CBI into a Conspiracy Bureau of India," she said referring to the agency’s arrest of TMC MPs Sudip Bandopadhyay and Tapas Pal in connection with the Rose Valley chit fund scam.

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“We don’t care about that. If he can, Modi babu may put all of us in jail, but we will not stop talking for the people," she added. “Even if they take us from Bengal to Odisha, Delhi or Uttar Pradesh, it does not matter, every place is our country," Banerjee said, adding, “But when people react then where will Modi babu go?"

Manmohan Singh, separately, said demonetisation will have a “very significant adverse effect" on the country’s GDP and will be an issue in the upcoming assembly elections in five states. “You will see there will be a very significant adverse effect on the country’s GDP," Singh said in New Delhi after releasing the Congress manifesto for Punjab polls. Recalling his statement in Parliament that demonetisation will have a very adverse impact on the GDP of the country, Singh said subsequent developments have proved him right. In this context, he referred to the recent projection by the National Income Unit of the Central Statistical Organisation that the GDP in 2016-17 will slow down to 7.1% from 7.6% a year earlier.

This, he said, had not accounted for demonetisation, which was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an unusual address to the nation on the night of 8 November. Asked whether elections would be fought on the issue of demonetisation, he said, “It will be an issue in the assembly elections in five states." Singh has been highly critical of demonetisation decision and has predicted a 2% drop in the country’s GDP due to it.

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