Stepping up her attack on the Centre over demonetisation, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today dubbed the drive as “super Emergency” and vowed to agitate against it till a rollback of the decision.
“The government has taken away the freedom from the people that they have been enjoying for the past 69 years. The government has snatched ‘Roti, Kapda aur Makan’ from the people… A people’s movement was started during the Emergency days… Today, the situation is even worse than Emergency, it can be termed as super Emergency,” the Trinamool Congress supremo said.
“People are facing difficulties and inconveniences. They (NDA Government) have sold the country. It is the duty of political parties to raise their voice for the people and we will continue with our agitation till the government takes a decision to roll back the demonetisation move,” she said.
Mamata was addressing a gathering here in the course of her party’s nationwide campaign against demonetisation. Raising the the issue of funding of PM Modi’s public meetings in foreign countries, she asked “From where do they get money to hold such mega public meetings in foreign countries like the US?”.
She also raised issue of registration of land by BJP in Bihar for opening offices in districts and displaying deed numbers of land purchased by the BJP, questioned the PM’s intentions as to how could BJP buy huge chunks of land in the month of September, a few weeks before the announcement of demonetisation on November 8.
Without naming anyone, Banerjee said, “If someone comes with us, then it is good. But, it certainly pains us if someone is not with us in the struggle for common people. This is people’s cause. People will not forgive ‘gaddars’ (betrayers).”
Mamata, who arrived in the state capital yesterday, also met RJD chief Lalu Prasad at the latter’s residence.
The ruling JD(U) has already made it clear that it would not be present at Banerjee’s agitation programme in the light of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s support to demonetisation.
Questioning Modi’s poll promise of depositing Rs 15 lakh to every individual’s bank account from money stashed away illegally, Banerjee said, “What happened to the promise? Not a single paise came to anyone’s account nor any single paise was brought from the Swiss bank.”
Lalu Prasad and his RJD have also been from time and again questioning the fate of this promise.
“Entire industry sector and economy are witnessing a slowdown due to demonetisation as a result of which people, mostly from Bihar who have migrated everywhere in search of jobs, are not getting their payments, especially in the jute industry and tea gardens in Bengal,” Banerjee said.
Displaying two new notes of Rs 500 denomination having some dissimilar features, she alleged it smacked of a “big scam”.
“The prime minister painted everyone as having black money, even those who file IT returns and pay taxes,” she said adding “The PM also disrespected the ‘stree shakti’ (women power) and ‘stree-dhan’ (women wealth).”
In order to buttress her point that majority of people still rely on cash transactions in the absence of banking facilities, the TMC chief gave figures of availability of bank branches saying, of the 8,400 gram panchayats in Bihar, 5,000 panchayats do not have branches of any bank.
After the programme was over and Mamata left the venue, senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh told reporters, “Nitish Kumar should not have supported the Centre’s decision of demonetisation. It creates doubt among the people whether everything was fine in the grand secular alliance.”
“There is no unanimity in the JD(U) itself on demonetisation as Sharad Yadav, former JD(U) president, is saying something different while Nitish is supporting demonetisation,” he said.
Singh and party state unit chief Ramchandra Purbe, a few leaders of the Bihar unit of Samajwadi Party and Jan Adikar Party of Pappu Yadav along with TMC’s senior leader Mukul Roy were present on the dais.