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Govt, Opposition see it in black and white

Rahul Gandhi interacted with traders in Surat, took part in a candlelight vigil and also took to social media to criticise demonetisation

Archis Mohan & PTI  |  New Delhi 

Black day, note ban, demonetisation
Srinagar: Congress party laeders and workers shouting slogans during theit Black Day protest march on the first anniversary of 'demonetisation' announcement, in Srinagar on Wednesday. Photo: PTI

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) celebrated the first anniversary of on Wednesday as “anti-black money day”, with Union ministers addressing press conferences in several cities and also launching signature campaigns that supported the Narendra Modi government’s efforts at curbing black money.

Several of the Opposition parties responded with protests to mark the day as “black day”. Congress and the Left parties held protests across the country. The organised protests across West Bengal. Rashtriya Janata Dal held protests in Bihar, Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) led Opposition protests in Tamil Nadu.

Several Opposition leaders either wore black bands or turned their display pictures to black. ally Shiv Sena joined the protests in Maharashtra. Shiv Sena performed a ‘shradh’, or death rites, at Ramkund, a sacred bathing ghat on the Godavari, in Nashik, in front of enlarged pictures of the scrapped notes.

While the dates for the winter session of Parliament are yet to be announced, it became apparent that the issue was all set to be discussed as and when the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha are convened. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, headed by Congress’ M Veerappa Moily, is scheduled to meet on Thursday where senior finance ministry officials will brief the panel on the decision and its ramifications. The committee is slated to meet again on November 16, and has to submit its report in the winter session.

In the political arena, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to in the morning to “bow” to the people of India for supporting the measures taken by the government against corruption and black money. The PM also posted short films on his handle to showcase the benefits it brought and said Indians won a decisive battle against black money.

Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi interacted with traders in Surat, took part in a candlelight vigil and also took to social media to criticise The Congress, however, was left a tad embarrassed when one of Rahul Gandhi’s tweets slamming carried the picture of ex-serviceman Nandalal.

The retired soldier had become somewhat of an icon for anti-campaign in 2016 after a website had published a photograph of him distraught and standing in an ATM queue. However, the man told television channels on Wednesday that he supported any step, including note ban, which curbed corruption in the country. chief Amit Shah, who was in Junagadh in Gujarat leading a signature campaign in support of ‘anti-black money day’, tweeted the ex-serviceman’s soundbite. Shah tagged Rahul Gandhi in the tweet and said the soundbite exposed the lies of the Congress.

In an article in the UK’s Financial Times, Rahul Gandhi accused the PM of “robbing” the country of its economic prowess and “damaging” India by converting people’s anger due to joblessness into “communal hatred”. The Congress Vice President said in the article that “the Chinese cat has firmly caught the global manufacturing mouse”.

Rahul Gandhi said China’s global monopoly on blue-collar jobs is a fundamental challenge to other nation states, since it has created millions of disenfranchised and angry workers "who express their frustration at the ballot box — whether in votes for Mr Modi, Brexit, or Donald Trump". He said China creates 50,000 jobs a day, while in Modi’s India only 500 jobs are created daily. But, he said, “this advantage comes with a brutal cost — China’s people are not free to speak, to dissent or to question and those that do are swiftly and severely punished. This is not a model India should emulate."

In New Delhi, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala alleged there were several incidents in the run up to the announcement which suggested that leaders had foreknowledge of the move. He pointed to instances where leaders were allegedly caught with large amounts of currency, or where money was deposited in bank accounts on the eve of or plots of land purchased.

In Madurai, DMK’s working president MK Stalin led an opposition protest march. He dismissed speculation, which has come in the wake of the PM’s meeting with DMK patriarch MK Karunanidhi on Monday, about any alliance between his party and the Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who was in Chennai, also dismissed the speculation. Sitharaman, who led a signature campaign to support ‘anti-black money day’, said the PM meeting Karunanidhi was healthy political culture.

In Lucknow, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said the people of the state would teach a lesson in the forthcoming urban body elections. In Patna, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi took potshots at the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) over their protest against saying people fond of black money were observing "black day”.

Apart from Sitharaman in Chennai, other ministers who addressed press conferences and public meetings were Suresh Prabhu in Jaipur, Nitin Gadkari in Mumbai, Prakash Javadekar in Hyderabad, Kiren Rijiju in Itanagar and Jayant Sinha in Kolkata. Goa CM Manohar Parrikar said had struck a blow to anti-India forces.

First Published: Thu, November 09 2017. 01:11 IST