Targeting the Modi government for taking the ordinance route to impose penalty including jail term for possessing scrapped notes, CPI(M) today said it employed the “backdoor” as it was afraid of facing Parliament. CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, however, trashed the demand by some opposition parties led by Congress and TMC that Prime Minister Narendra Modi resign over demonetisation and, instead, pitched for directing efforts to see that problems faced by people end soon.
Asked about fissures within opposition after Left parties did not take part in the meet and the press conference addressed by Rahul Gandhi along with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and other opposition leaders yesterday, Yechury insisted that “unity continues to be there”.
The Marxist leader, at the same, stressed on having proper consultations among opposition parties to strengthen their unity.
“It was inevitable for the government to bring the ordinance or else demonetisation move would not be legal…in actual practice, they should have amended the law concerned when Parliament was in session (to validate the December 30 deadline),” Yechury told reporters.
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“There is no need for taking ordinance route. But, afraid of law like this facing Parliament during winter session, the backdoor method has been employed by the Modi government,” he added.
On opposition unity over the note ban issue, he said, “Unity was there and will continue to be there.
“But the question is how we strengthen that unity? There should be consultations and that we reach common decisions.”
As the 50-day period sought by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for easing of note ban problem ends, Yechury rued that the hardships of people have “only increased”.
“Now we hear new threats that he will make new announcements on December 30. We are now awaiting to know what are these new announcements.
“Based on that, the Left parties will reach out to people through protests. We also urge other opposition parties which are against demonetisation to co-ordinate efforts,” he said.
The Union Cabinet today approved promulgation of an ordinance to impose a penalty, including a jail term, for possession of the scrapped 500 and 1,000 rupee notes beyond a cut-off.
The Cabinet also approved an ordinance to amend the RBI Act to extinguish the liability of the government and the central bank on the demonetised high-denomination notes to prevent future litigations.
Official sources said the ordinance has been cleared, but did not say if the penal provisions would apply for holding the junked currency after the 50-day window to deposit them in banks ends as of December 30 or after March 31, till which time deposit of old currency notes at specified branches of the Reserve Bank is allowed after submitting a declaration form.