Brushing aside criticism of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi for standing in queue along with the common man in front of a bank in the Parliament Street area of Delhi on Friday, party leader and former union minister Shashi Tharoor said the former’s motive was to show the people’s plight in trying to exchange currency.
“I think what Rahul Gandhi has demonstrated with his visits is that the ‘aam aadmi’ is adversely affected by this. The target of this action was supposed to be black money hoarders, the business people who have got sacks full of money. Frankly, the very rich have found other ways, including of course, many of them have already invested their black money in real estate, gold and etc,” Tharoor told ANI.
“But the problem with ordinary people is that they have no such recourse. Whatever money they have got in their hands, they have to withdraw it or change it and this is what it causing hour-long queues in all banks and at all ATMs,” he added.
Responding to critics from the BJP camp who has been dubbing Rahul Gandhi’s visit as a photo-op, the Rajya Sabha MP retorted, “If it is a photo-op, then who has provided the opportunity for such photo-ops.” However, he acknowledged the government’s intentions to weed out black money and counter counterfeiting, but recalled that the Janata Party’s decision in 1978 to demonetise currency notes had failed to prevent people from accumulating more currency notes.
Tharoor asked, “The Janata party government did the same thing, but within a short span, people again started accumulating the new notes. The present issue is, if in the previous attempt we could not prevent the new currency from becoming black, then how can we prevent the new currency from becoming black in the future?”
Rahul Gandhi visited State Bank of India’s branch in Parliament Street and stood in a long queue with people. “I have come here to withdraw Rs.4000. I will stand in line with the people who are suffering,” he said. The BJP criticised the act, saying he was indulging in “theatrics” to rile people’s sentiments.
“Rahul Ghandi has never cared about people. All he cares about is taking photos. That is why Rahul Gandhi is often seen on roads clicking selfies,” BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma told ANI. Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar also took a dig at Rahul saying, “Had he queued up within the party, the fittest would have survived and Congress would have been better off.”