New Delhi: Opposition parties targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday over the RBI’s announcement on the withdrawal of Rs 2,000 currency notes from circulation, with the Congress saying the move was “typical of our self-styled vishwaguru” and his method of “first act, second think”.
The Congress also said demonetisation has come a full circle and added that the Rs 2,000 note was a “band-aid to cover up the foolish decision of demonetising” Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
Left parties, including the CPI and the CPI(M), and the AAP also attacked the government over the issue.
A Congress MP said it was the beginning of a second demonetisation “disaster”, in an apparent reference to the demonetisation exercise of November 8, 2016, when the legal tender status of all Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 bank notes was withdrawn by the Modi government.
“Typical of our self-styled Vishwaguru. First Act, Second Think (FAST). 2,000 rupee notes introduced with such fanfare after that singularly disastrous ‘Tughlaqi firman’ of Nov 8 2016 are now being withdrawn,” Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said on Twitter, targeting the prime minister.
Senior Congress leader and former Union finance minister P Chidambaram said a few weeks after demonetisation, the government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) were forced to re-introduce the Rs 500 note and he will not be surprised if the Centre re-introduces the Rs 1,000 note as well.
“The Rs 2000 note is hardly a popular medium of exchange. We said this in November 2016 and we have been proved correct. The Rs 2,000 note was a band-aid to cover up the foolish decision of demonetising Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes which were popular and widely exchanged currencies,” he said on Twitter.
The Congress leader said that “a few weeks after demonetisation, the government/RBI were forced to re-introduce the Rs 500 note”. “I shall not be surprised if the government/RBI re-introduced the Rs 1,000 note as well. Demonetisation has come full circle,” he said.
“Rs 2,000 note was never a ‘clean’ note. It was not used by the vast majority of the people. It was used only by people to keep their black money, temporarily,” the former finance minister said.
In a tweet in Hindi, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal said, “First he said that by bringing 2,000 note, corruption will stop. Now they are saying that by banning 2,000 note, corruption will end. That’s why we say, PM should be educated… He doesn’t understand. The public has to suffer.”
On the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) withdrawing Rs 2000 notes from circulation, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said that it “virtually reverses the 2016 demonetisation, grandly announced by Modi as the answer to India’s problems of black money, corruption, terrorist funding, and promoting digital economy”. He said it is a dismal failure on all counts.
“Modi made DeMon disaster criminally crippled crores of livelihoods, claimed hundreds of lives, destroying the informal economy and MSMEs that contribute most to employment generation and GDP growth,” he said on Twitter.
Yechury also claimed that cash in circulation is up 83 per cent since demonetisation and said that “corruption is legalised and grown manifold”.
“Karnataka massively rejected ’40 per cent commission sarkara’ in recent elections. Condemnable terrorist attacks continue to claim innocent lives,” the Left party leader said.
“Modi destruction of our economy and loot of national assets must be resisted and defeated. Crony corporate communal nexus must be rejected. Unite in struggles to safeguard our secular democratic republic,” he said.
The TMC also said on Twitter, “BJP demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in 2016, disrupting the lives of Indians everywhere! They claimed that the introduction of Rs 2,000 note would curb the flow of black money. Seven years later, they are withdrawing it from circulation. Yet another Modinomic masterstroke?”.
CPI leader Binoy Viswam tweeted, “Tuglakhs control the financial sector of the country. They have withdrawn the Rs 2,000 notes. They may argue that this shows the strength of the economy under Modi.”
“Are they dare enough to bring out a white paper on Indian economy after the demonetisation,” he asked.
Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said the “ghost” of November 8, 2016, has come back to haunt the nation once again.
“The greatly propagated move of demonetisation continues to be a monumental disaster for this nation. The PM sermoned the nation on the benefits of the new 2,000 notes, today when the printing is stopped what happened to all those promises,” he asked.
“The government must explain its motive for such a step. The government continues its anti-people and anti-poor agenda. Hope the media questions the government on such a drastic measure and not attribute it to ‘chip shortage’ in the world,” Khera said in a tweet.
Congress MP Manickam Tagore tweeted, “Second Demo disaster starts .. M = Madness.”
The RBI on Friday announced withdrawal of Rs 2,000 currency notes from circulation, and existing notes in circulation can either be deposited in bank accounts or exchanged by September 30.
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The Rs 2,000 denomination bank note was introduced in November 2016, primarily to meet the currency requirement of the economy in an expeditious manner after the withdrawal of legal tender status of all Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 bank notes that were in circulation at that time.
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