Barring the BJD, the entire Opposition — from the Congress to arch rivals SP and BSP, AIADMK and DMK, and Left and TMC — came together on Wednesday for a joint protest outside the House over the continuing cash crunch. They also decided to observe a nationwide “protest day” on November 28.
Over 200 MPs from14 parties, including the AIADMK which has remained quiet on the issue so far, joined the symbolic protest in front of the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Parliament. While SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati were missing, their MPs were present. Opposition leaders later held a meeting and decided to give a joint protest call to take the fight from Parliament to the streets.
However, differences persisted on whether and when to meet President Pranab Mukherjee. The Left parties are not too keen about meeting the President. Admitting the differences, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury quoted Mao to say they would be “marching separately and striking together”.
Yechury said November 28 would be observed as “akrosh diwas” by all the parties across the country. In Left strongholds like Kerala and Tripura, the protest could transform into a bandh. CPI leader D Raja said the Left parties would observe a week-long protest from November 24-30. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi alleged a “scam” behind the decision to scrap R500 and R1,000 notes. “We feel there is a scam behind this decision. We feel that the prime minister and their (party) president had told their people about this decision in advance. So there should be a JPC probe. The Opposition is united. Over 200 MPs were here… The government should say why the decision was taken,” said Rahul.
Asked who was leading the Opposition, he said the voice of the poor was driving the protest. “What the PM has done is the world’s biggest impromptu financial experiment. The PM has not asked anyone about this. It is being said that the FM did not know about it. The chief economic advisor was not in the know. This is the PM’s decision.”