West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, backed by JD-U, SP, NCP and AAP, held a demonstration against demonetisation and ramped up attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging the country was not safe in his hands.
Addressing the gathering at Jantar Mantar, Banerjee alleged that abolition of high-value currency notes had heaped pain on people and snatched away democratic rights of almost every section of the society including farmers, youth, women, labourers and traders, besides halting the country’s economic growth.
Accusing the BJP-led dispensation of “looting” the common man, she wondered why those having Swiss bank accounts were “not touched at all”, and warned that people will teach a “good lesson” to the ruling party in the upcoming assembly polls for implementing a “black law”.
“I can challenge that no one will vote for BJP. If I were you (PM), I would have apologised to the public. Why you are so egoistic? You have branded everyone in the country a black marketeer and have yourself turned into a saint ,” Banerjee said.
In his address, JD-U leader Sharad Yadav questioned the legality of the demonetisation exercise and challenged the Prime Minister to explain to the Parliament how the decision will benefit the country.
“Under which law have you enforced this measure? You are stopping a person from withdrawing his hard-earned money which is his fundamental right. demonetisation has destroyed the business of small traders. Come to
Parliament and explain the logic as to how it will curb black money,” Yadav said.The presence of Yadav at the protest assumes significance as his party had supported demonetisation.
The street protest was also addressed by SP’s Dharmendra Yadav, AAP’s Raghav Chadha and NCP’s Majid Memon.
The West Bengal Chief Minister also lashed out at a group of people who were shouting pro-Modi slogans, alleging that they were sent to disrupt her public meeting and wondered what the police and administration were doing.
Referring to yesterday’s bypoll results, the TMC chief said BJP’s victory margins have come down significantly in Madhya Pradesh and that Modi has left the country in the lurch (Modiji ne desh ka barah baja diya).”
Banerjee said she will continue her fight till woes of the people are not addressed, adding she will also support a country-wide protest called by the Opposition parties on November 28 against demonetisation.
Last week, Banerjee had addressed a rally against demonetization along with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Banerjee said the government has lost all “credentials and credibility” and that because of demonetisation, the GDP may decline sharply. “This government will have to go…I am sorry to say, the country is not secure under you Modiji. You do things on your whims and fancies,” she said.
Without elaborating, she also alleged that the demonetization measure has brought back the pre-Independence feudal system in the country as people are struggling to get cash.
Referring to the Prime Minister’s assertion that more steps to curb black money will follow, the West Bengal Chief Minister expressed apprehension that government may aim to get hold of the gold, land and other properties from the people in the next phase.
“Almost all shops have downed shutters. Even malls have closed down. Our economy had improved and we survived the global recession. But because of demonetization, our GDP will go down. The economy has been hit badly,” she said.
The West Bengal Chief Minister said her fight against demonetisation was not to gain political mileage as there was no election scheduled in West Bengal and that she decided to hit the streets seeing plight of the common man.
“This is not a fight for political gains. People in my state are suffering. People across the country are suffering Where should they go? This fight is for the rights of the poor and the downtrodden,” she said.
Asserting that she will continue to fight for the common citizens, Banerjee said, “I am not afraid of any government.
You put me in jail, I will not get scared. My struggle will continue.”
Alleging that people were sent to disrupt her protest, she said in democracy everyone has right to agitate, adding “this soil doesn’t belong to BJP party, but to this country.”
The West Bengal Chief Minister said she would travel to Punjab and Gujarat to take forward the fight. She said she was planning to go to Lucknow and Varanasi, Prime Minister Modi’s parliamentary constituency.