After Manmohan Singh’s speech yesterday in the Rajya Sabha, where he termed demonetisation as a case of “organised loot” and “legalised plunder”, PM Narendra Modi didn’t seem to be taken aback. Instead, he met his predecessor in a very candid way and shook hands with him when the Parliament broke for lunch. Yes! We aren’t kidding! The Prime Minister, accompanied by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, was also seen talking to senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma along with other opposition members who have attacked his reform aimed at fighting black money. With the opposition remaining adamant that the PM must speak on demonetisation in Parliament, the government agreed that PM Modi will speak on the issue in the Rajya Sabha, where the government is in a minority.
The former Prime Minister, who is also a renowned economist said that it was important to take note of the grievances of the people who were suffering. He further noted that 60-65 people had lost their lives due to a decision that had been taken to weaken the people’s confidence in the currency and the banking system. Speaking about PM Modi’s urge of waiting for 50 days till the worst is over, Manmohan Singh said that even those 50 days could be detrimental for the poor. He asked the Prime Minister to name one other country where people had deposited their money in the banks but were not being able to withdraw it. He suggested that the Prime Minister must come with some constructive proposal how to implement the scheme properly. Manmohan Singh started trending on Twitter the moment he finished speaking in the upper house of the Parliament.
Dr Singh said that though he agrees with the PM’s intent to flush out black money, the implementation of his initiative, which has forced long lines at banks for nearly two weeks, amounts to “a monumental management failure.” That is also what other opposition leaders have alleged, arguing that a move meant to punish the corrupt and rich who hoard black money has left the poor in rural India, including farmers, stranded without cash.