NEW DELHI: The fault lines widened a day before the winter session of Parliament. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s last-ditch attempt to bring the Opposition on board on Tuesday, in the hope of sending a strong united message against corruption from Parliament, fell through. An angry and united Opposition, instead, accused the government of creating an “economic chaos’’ by going into demonetisation in a knee-jerk manner, sans adequate planning or preparation.
That nearly all opposition parties have given notices in the Upper House for an immediate discussion on the adverse impacts of demonetisation on the common people, suspending all other business, was an indication that there’ll be fire-works from day-one.
(The Lok Sabha on Wednesday is scheduled to be adjourned for day after obituary reference to TMC MP, Renuka Sinha.) At the all-party meetings, two points stood out from the government’s side: PM’s appeal for a joint statement on demonetisation, and the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s defence that elaborate preparation would have given the game away. But the Opposition, as well as NDA allies like Shiv Sena, remained unconvinced. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi hitting out at the government not only accused it of not thinking through the currency move, but also alleged that “friends and party units’’ of the BJP were tipped off.
He cited the BJP Bengal unit’s `3 crore cash deposit at a Kolkata branch and a BJP member’s photograph displaying the new `2000 notes, floating on the net, both prior to the PM’s November 8 announcement, to make the allegation look less wild. Going hammer and tongs, Rahul Gandhi however took the line that “now it’s a done deed’’ so “we are not seeking a rollback’’. Instead, he sought to hold the Government accountable for the burgeoning queues outside the banks and ATMs. From small traders to farmers and women have been badly hit, he said. cashing in: p9