Opposition on demonetisation move: Yechury puts off Mamata's offer

Sitaram Yechury. File Photo: Shanker Chakravarty  

A day after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called up CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury to suggest a joint opposition to the Modi government's demonetisation move, Mr. Yechury put off a decision on this to a later date, saying the coming winter session of Parliament would allow parties to present their views and alignments.

He said that the CPI (M) had already given notices in Parliament to suspend all business to discuss this issue. It was meaningful to meet even the President of India only after demanding the government's explanation in Parliament as soon as it met, he added.

Declaring that he had told Ms. Banerjee that the CPI (M) had been opposing the decision from day one, Mr. Yechury told reporters that the government should allow the usage of the old currency for all public utilities and white transactions till December 31 or a few days before that, as the Kerala government had announced.

He said the demonetisation decision would hit the poor the most. “Yesterday the PM asked people to give him 50 days. But people are dying as they can't pay for treatment. Allow people to use the old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes at least in public utilities and for white transactions. The Kerala government has permitted it till December 21,” he said. “Why can't the country and other state governments wanting to protest do this?”

Questioning the government's commitment to bringing back black money, he said: “Corruption will double with Rs. 2000 notes. Act against the corrupt. What did the government do after the Narada and Saradha scams, when people were caught on tape accepting cash?”

He wondered how the BJP unit in Bengal could withdraw Rs. 3-crore just before the announcement.

“Ban donations from corporates to political parties. Party spending in polls has no ceiling till now; only candidate spending has,” he said.

Noting that counterfeits of the Rs. 2000 note were already available in the market, Mr. Yechury refused to accept the argument that counterfeit currency necessitated the demonetisation. “ISI Kolkata says that out of the demonetised currency, just 0.028 per cent is counterfeit currency.” He added that terror funding, too, was done through electronic transfers and not through bagfulls of cash.

“In 2014, the Prime Minister said 90-percent of the black money was lying in foreign banks. The government has 600 names from Swiss banks. They aren't making these public,” Mr. Yechury said. “While there are huge bank NPAs because of large corporates, the government decided to forgo Rs. 1.12-lack crores last year. While there has been a 26-percent increase in farmers' suicides since Mr. Modi became PM, there is no relief to them.”

Mr. Yechury pointed out that Rs. 11-lakh crore had been spent in new printing to implement this decision.

He wondered whether this was just with an eye on the Uttar Pradesh polls, so that political rivals could not access their unaccounted for cash.

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Printable version | Nov 26, 2020 9:10:08 AM |

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