Modi’s defence of demonetisation in Parliament fails to resonate with Opposition.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s contention on Tuesday that the government picked the right time to carry out its demonetisation exercise has found few takers in the Opposition.The Congress termed Modi’s speech in the Lok Sabha as “arrogant”, and said he had lost a “good” opportunity to present his vision and explain what he and his party stand for. “This was quite an arrogant reply… He should have used this window of opportunity to present his vision, clarity and perspective for the country,” Congress leader Veerappa Moily told reporters after the speech.UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav responded to the Prime Minister’s speech by saying that demonetisation has “resulted in people leaving their jobs” to stand in queue before banks and ATMs — badly affecting their financial situation.West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, for her part, said the “visionless (demonetisation) drive” only made the nation lose its economic freedom. “Today, three months are over, but the restrictions and sufferings are not. Citizens have lost their economic freedom,” she tweeted.As if to prove her right on this count, an estimated one-fourth of the ATMs across the country ran dry the same day — exposing the government’s claim that the worst of the post-demonetisation cash crunch was over. Bank officials attributed this development to the withdrawal of large amounts of cash for sundry payments and purchases at the start of the month.Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi found fault with Modi’s comparison of the demonetisation exercise — seen as a move to remove tax evaders and illicit wealth from the country — with a surgical operation on the human body. Underlining his claim that Modi and his ministers were not qualified to carry out such exercises, Gandhi quipped that surgery by “a quack can endanger life”.The Prime Minister’s explanation also faced criticism from the likes of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and N K Premachandran of the Revolutionary Socialist Party (India).