VIJAYAWADA: Dismissing reports that there was a split in the Opposition, CPI general secretary Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy on Wednesday said efforts were on to strengthen broader unity among the 15 opposition parties in Parliament. “As for the press conference of the Congress held on Tuesday, we were informed, but there was no clarity on the subject and no prior discussion was held for taking the consent of all opposition members.
Hence, we avoided the meeting. We did not boycott as reported,” he clarified.
Speaking at a ‘Meet the Press’ programme organised by the Vijayawada Press Club here Wednesday, the Left leader said demonetisation of high-value currency was not based on scientific advice, but on the advice of some self-styled experts. “We are not demanding the rollback of demonetisation. Neither are we against digital payments. What we are asking the government is to let the demonetised currency be used till there is enough new currency to replace it,” he explained. Terming it a bad move, he pointed out that 60 notifications issued in the 50 days since November 8 showed how ill-planned the Modi Sarkar’s move was.
Sudhakar Reddy opined that digital payments cannot be an alternative to an economy that is heavily dependent on cash transactions. “The government has to come up with a solution to address the cash crunch immediately,” he added. To a query, he replied that demonetisation had failed to address the four issues - black money, corruption, counterfeit currency and terror funding - which the Prime Minister had claimed it will.
“Even the Supreme Court has asked the government how only a few are able to get the new currency in crores, while the common man is finding it hard to get even one new currency note,” he pointed out and remarked that it makes one wonder if the new currency is going to the rich few directly from the RBI. Banks are ill-equipped to exchange large amounts of cash, he reasoned. In the same breath, he accused the Modi government of “manufacturing consent” and stifling freedom of speech. “They are manipulating journalists to publicise that digitalisation is happening everywhere and people are supporting their decisions, while the fact is people are suffering and digitalisation is not happening as claimed,” he alleged.
Asked what could have prompted the NDA government to demonetise high-value currency, the CPI general secretary speculated that it might be the forthcoming elections in UP, Punjab and, Manipur to ensure the Opposition has no money for elections. The Left leader also wondered why the government was not making any effort to name big loan defaulters and instead, was trying to waive the loans. “The most worrying development is that the Prime Minister himself is bringing pressure on public sector undertakings to take over loss-making units like the Gujarat Gas Corporation. It has incurred ` 6,800 crore loss but is now taken over by the ONGC,” he said.