The Congress on Wednesday described the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre as a "government of robbers" and said that on November 8 last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi brought a "black law" which hit hard crores of people across the country.
"On November 8, the Prime Minister came on national television to announce demonetisation. It has never happened across the globe where due to an announcement of the PM crores of people lose their livelihood and youths were left unemployed," Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said while addressing a protest against demonetisation in Connaught Place here.
The Congress had announced to observe November 8 as a "black day".
"Thousands of small and medium scale industries closed due to the sudden announcement of scrapping the high-denomination notes," the Congress leader said.
He also said that the announcement of demonetisation was a "black law" for the country and that being the reason, the Congress was observing its first anniversary as black day.
Dubbing the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as a party of robbers, Azad said: "This government made the people, women, youth and senior citizens stand in banks or ATMs queues to exchange their money."
"Many of the infants died in their mothers' lap who stood in bank or ATM queues for hours. Many people lost their life while standing in bank queues. Many farmers committed suicide. Many people lost their jobs as thousands of small and medium scale industries closed," he said, adding: "This is a government of robbers."
"They looted everyone. They also looted what was with the women, which they had saved for years," Azad claimed.
"What are they celebrating? Are they celebrating the deaths which happened due to demonetisation? Are they celebrating the unemployment of crores of youths across the country? Are they celebrating the sufferings of the people due to demonetisation?
"Are they celebrating the farmer suicides? Are they celebrating the unemployment of labourers who got jobless due to the shutting down of thousands of small and medium scale industries across the country?" he said.
Azad was addressing a huge demonstration in central Delhi. Hundreds of Congress leaders had gathered in the Connaught Place area and also formed a human chain to protest against the scrapping of the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.
The Congress workers dressed in black shirts and pants and led by the party's Delhi unit chief Ajay Maken raised slogans against the Modi government. The demonstration was also attended by senior Congress leader P.C. Chacko and rebel Janata Dal-United leader Sharad Yadav.
The Congress workers carried placards with slogans like "Notebandi ne kiya prahar, thapp ho gaya karobar (demonetisation hit hard forcing businesses to close)", "Notebandi ne kiya vivash, 8 November kala diwas (Demonetisation forced us to observe November 8 as Black Day).
In a surprise move, Modi had on November 8, 2016 announced to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes to curb "black money and corruption".
Azad also said that people should not expect anything from the BJP government.
"Don't expect anything from this BJP government, as this party has always been with industrialists," he said.
Azad also slammed Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for switching to the BJP.
"Nitish Kumar was lured by the BJP. He changed sides and formed a government with the BJP by breaking the Grand Alliance that was formed two years ago," Azad said.
"We have not seen a foolish person like Nitish Kumar who split his own party and hit his own feet with an axe," he said.
Azad also accused the BJP of breaking away leaders of opposition parties by threatening them and luring them.
Lauding rebel JD-U leader Sharad Yadav for standing by his principles, Azad said: "He is such a kind of leader who never fears and believes in speaking the truth. Although Nitish Kumar broke away from the Grand Alliance, Sharadji remained firm on his principles," he added.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)