NEW DELHI: Though it appears reconciled to the possibility that the demonetisation agitation will play out for a while, the government is considering various options to achieve a breakthrough in the Parliament logjam, hoping that fatigue may set in the Opposition camp soon.
To counter the Opposition “propaganda”, top ministers are briefing party MPs on the decision taken by the Centre to denotify high-denomination banknotes.
Replying to former prime minister Manmohan Singh’s scathing attack on the government, Finance Minister Arun Jaitely launched a counter-attack. “Those who ran the government between 2004-14, which presided over scams and scandals, is calling demonetisation a blunder,” he said. “Those who did not consider the generation of so much black money and scams during their regime as a blunder are now finding the crusade against black money to be a blunder.”
Jaitely, while speaking to reporters and flanked by a number of Cabinet colleagues – Ananth Kumar, Prakash Javadekar, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Jitendra Singh, claimed that the Opposition was surprised by the prime minister’s presence in the Rajya Sabha. “The Opposition was not prepared for a discussion on demonetisation. They are manufacturing and inventing reasons to avoid discussion. I am doubtful that the Opposition will allow discussion in the House for a while,” he said.
NDA floor managers claimed there would be a window for a breakthrough in the impasse after the Opposition’s public protest scheduled for early next week. “The government is watching out. In the coming days the inconveniences to the people will ease to some extent,” a source in the government said.
Meanwhile in the Supreme Court, the government submitted an affidavit claiming there was no chaos in the country despite the inconvenience that the people had faced because of the scrapping of notes. It further said that move would help unearth and destroy black money stashed over seven decades. Apart from eradicating black money, the affidavit said, this step would also help in cracking down on fake currency notes and choking funding for several terror outfits.
The affidavit said the recalibration of ATMs across the country was in full swing and people would soon be able to withdraw the new currency notes from them seamlessly.
The apex court agreed to hear on Friday a plea seeking a direction to the Centre and the RBI that a Tamil Nadu-based co-operative society be allowed to accept old demonetised notes and permit cash withdrawals.
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NEW DELHI: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday, for the second time in a month, sought the intervention of President Pranab Mukherjee in the demonetisation issue. Equating the PM with Hitler, the the Trinamool chief said the “autocratic” move to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes hasd ruined farmers, daily wagers and small traders. “Because of this Tughlaqi decision, the entire country is suffering. From tea garden workers to daily wagers and small traders, all have come to the street. People are starving,” she said.