Opposition parties, including the Congress, plan to hold nationwide protests on the anniversary of demonetisation on November 8.
The protests will highlight, they say, the impact of both demonetisation
and hurried implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) that led to an economic slowdown, job losses and other problems for farmers and traders.
A preparatory meeting was held on Monday. An ‘Opposition Coordination Committee’ for the purpose will announce the protests at a joint press conference on Tuesday morning. Leaders said the call would be made jointly but protests will be carried out by parties on the same day but separately.
In Gandhinagar, addressing a public rally on Monday afternoon, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi termed GST
as ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’. “Small shopkeepers are finished. Lakhs of youths have gone unemployed. They are still not ready to listen,” he said. Cult Hindi movie Sholay has had a prime villain, a dacoit called Gabbar Singh.
He also mocked the Prime Minister Narendra Modi
over last year’s demonetisation.
“He hit the axe and for two-three days, he could not understand what happened.. the prime minister only realised his mistake after five-six days”. “Narendra Modiji ruined the economy of the entire country,” Gandhi said.
In Patna, Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad said his party would hold protests across Bihar on November 8. “We will ask the BJP
what the common people gained by the arbitrary step of invalidating Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes,” Prasad said.
“The note ban
wreaked havoc on small traders. Millions were forced to stand for hours in queues outside banks to get their notes exchanged. The country’s economy is in tatters as a result.”
The meeting in Delhi was attended by Congress leader and opposition head in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, the Trinamool Congress’ Derek O’Brien, dissident Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav, Communist Party of India’s D Raja, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s Kanimozhi and the Bahujan Samaj Party’s Satish Chandra Mishra, among others.