Demonetisation: Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram has taken a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘acche din’, questioning how millions of people standing in queues for their money is good for the country. In a series of tweets, Chidambaram took a sarcastic jibe at Modi government’s promise of ‘acche din’ saying, “1. Millions of working people standing in queue. Long live Productivity. 2. Thousands of “rich” and “corrupt” persons standing in queue. The poor are cheering from their homes! 3. Banks are doling out cash to citizens. That is proof that “Achhe Din” have arrived!”
In a column in the Financial Express on November 13, Chidambaram had written that there are many uncertainties and unknowns in the government’s plan. “The reality is the old notes will be replaced by new notes. Hence, the true test will be the answer to the question ‘what proportion of the old notes will be tendered for replacement’? It is only the notes that are not tendered that will be ‘demonetised’ in the true sense of the word,” he had said.
Congress leaders and particularly party Vice President Rahul Gandhi have slammed the Narendra Modi government for the inconvenience caused to people due to the massive demonetisation drive. Last week Rahul Gandhi even visited a bank in Delhi, and reportedly stood in the queue, to exchange Rs 4000 in old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes. Ahead of the Parliament’s Winter session, the Opposition – Congress, Samajwadi Party, Trinamool Congress and Left – have united to oppose the demonetisation move and protest against the ensuing inconvenience to the public. Last week PM Narendra Modi announced that in a big fight against black money and corruption, all old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes will no longer be legal tender money.
Even as demonetisation drive plays out, the RBI and government are regularly reviewing cash withdrawal limits at banks and ATMs to reduce the inconvenience to common man. The government has clearly said: There is enough cash in the system to meet the requirement. Members of the public are, therefore, advised not to have any sense of panic. However, reports from across the country indicate that people are queuing up to exchange old notes and withdraw money day after day. Many banks and ATMs are running out of cash to cater to the demand. Given the general sense of inconvenience and growing anger among people, the Opposition it seems has been given enough ammunition to corner the government in the Parliament’s winter session.