Ahead of the protests by opposition parties on Monday against his government’s ‘note ban’ decision, Prime Minister Narendra Modi
on Sunday appealed to people to choose between his government’s efforts to end corruption and black money and the call of ‘Bharat bandh
’ by rival political parties.
Modi government, supported by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the larger Sangh Parivar, is currently in a battle to resist the opposition’s efforts to shape public opinion against the ‘note ban’ decision. Pressure from within the party has increased by each passing day for the PM to announce the promised “gains” for the poor after the “pain” of demonetisation.
On Sunday, PM addressed the nation through his monthly radio broadcast of ‘Mann ki Baat’. He later addressed a public rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Kushinagar. In both, Modi reiterated that ‘note ban’ would benefit India’s poor.
In Kushinagar, Modi asked people to defeat the protest call by opposition parties. He said the money from ‘note ban’ would be used for the welfare of the poor – for better education, cheaper medicines, and irrigation for agricultural fields, etc.
While the opposition prepared for its protests on Monday, thousands of Dalits, tribals and Muslims gathered in New Delhi’s Ramlila Grounds to protest ‘note ban’. They claimed to be unaffiliated to any political parties. Ashok Bharti, convener of the organising committee of the rally, said demonetisation
has hurt communities that have little interface with formal banking channels, particularly Dalits, tribals and Muslims.
In New Delhi, Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Vijay Goel organised a rally in support of ‘note ban’. Party leadership has been urging its MPs to organised similar ‘support rallies’, but several MPs have returned with feedback of distress in rural areas.
President Amit Shah addressed a public rally in Karnataka. He said ‘note ban’ has given the Congress
leadership, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal sleepless nights. Shah also thanked Bihar CM Nitish Kumar
for supporting Modi government’s demonetization decision.
In a statement, Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu questioned the opposition for holding protests when people of India have shown through their patience by standing in queues that they support ‘note ban’.
Naidu said the Congress
is upset because the PM has given “a clarion call for a ‘cultural revolution’ against the 55-year-old eight-fold decadent culture of ‘corruption, opportunism, nepotism, greed, repression, exploitation of power, sycophancy and self-seeking”, epitomised by the family-centric Congress