NEW DELHI: Terming the NDA government's demonetisation move as the scam of the century, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and Congress MP Ghulam Nabi Azad on Tuesday said that all opposition parties would observe November 8 as Black Day.
"Last year, the Prime Minister, on November 8, took an ill-conceived and hasty decision of demonetisation. To highlight the government's failure with regard to the scheme, 18 opposition parties will hold protests in their own form in various state assemblies and in Parliament," Azad said while sharing the dais with Trinamool Congress MP Derek O' Brien and rebel Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav.
The decision to hold the nationwide protests was taken at a coordination committee meeting held on Monday. "Eighteen opposition parties will hold protests and observe Black Day across the country in their own way," he said while adding that the government's failures will be highlighted to a great extent on the day of the protests.
"Official figures state that 120 people died due to problems arising out of demonetisation but unofficial figures are well over 300," the Congress leader said and claimed that India was brought onto the streets due to the Prime Minister's sudden announcement on November 8 last year. "The government claimed that unemployment, funds to militants and black money problems would be solved due to demonetisation but nothing of that sort has happened. Within weeks, new notes were found with militants, unemployment has not reduced. In fact, the government, which had promised 10 crore jobs has resulted in making another 10 crore people unemployed," he said.
Hailing former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Azad said the drop in the economy post-demonetisation was accurately predicted by Singh. "Evidence to Singh's prediction is that the Reserve Bank of India's statement that 99 per cent of the old currency notes is back in circulation. The black money problem has also not been solved.
Speaking on the NDA government's decision to hold talks in Kashmir, the Rajya Sabha MP said that the Congress had been vouching for a political solution since a long time. "Why did the government waste three-and-a-half years to come to take this decision? If the BJP had taken this decision earlier, hundreds of precious lives of soldiers and civilians in Kashmir could have been saved. Little girls, who lost their eyesight due to pellet guns, could have been saved from being blinded," Azad said.
Azad said he was not opposed to the proposal but said the timing of the government's move should be questioned. "There is no time frame that the government has provided. They are doing it only for publicity. Why did they have to wait till the fag end of their term to take this decision," the Congress leader said while adding that the NDA government had no policy in place for anything, especially Kashmir. "They only know how to divide and rule," he added.