New Delhi [India], Nov. 16 : After the Trinamool Congress (TMC) failed to build a consensus over demonetisation, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday led her party's 44 MPs in a one-km march from the Parliament House to the Rashtrapati Bhawan to submit a petition to President Pranab Mukherjee against the government's "hasty" decision.
Raising slogans against the BJP-led NDA regime, the TMC leaders staged a protest outside the Rashtrapati Bhawan while demanding that demonetisation should be withdrawn with immediate effect and brought after a thorough planning and discussion.
"This should be done in a planned way. It should be more articulated. More strong steps are required to recover black money. We demand that keep the decision pending, make an articulated plan. It was a hasty and unprepared situation," TMC leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay told the media. The issue of demonetisation created furore in the Upper House today with a riled Opposition reprimanding the government over its decision.
Initiating the discussion, Congress leader Anand Sharma dubbed the move as "financial anarchy". Sharma said, "The rule was implemented without any prior notice and that the whole nation is suffering due to the same".
Minister of State for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines Piyush Goyal, however, defending the decision said that this move has honoured the honest while troubled the dishonest.
Asserting that demonetisation is an important decision which warned the black money hoarders that there is no room for black money in the economy, Goyal said the honest can go and deposit their money without fear in the banks.
Samajwadi Party leader Ramgopal Yadav told the Rajya Sabha that such a crisis did not hit the nation even during the Emergency as the common man has now become a beggar, adding the BJP will be greeted with "belans" (rolling pins) if they visit villages now to ask for votes.
"There may not be any problem in metros, but think about the rural areas. No one will take it in villages and small towns because they don't have change. If you go to the villages today to ask for votes, women will pick up their rolling pins (belan) and teach you a lesson," he added.
Mocking the Prime Minister's initiative, Yadav said that he explained demonetisation to his children by telling them that they cannot use their own money even for mere things like buying vegetables.
"When my children asked about Prime Minister Modi's surgical strike, I explained to them 'that the money we have, we cannot buy vegetables with it'," he said.
Prime Minister Modi has rejected all demands to withdraw the currency ban, acknowledging the problems the people has had to face as they line up at banks for rationed new notes and promising to resolve the situation within 50 days.
At an all-party meeting last evening, the Prime Minister sought the Opposition's cooperation and said, "We have launched a crusade against corruption, black money and fake currency, which is also behind cross-border terrorism.
All parties should come together on this issue of national interest.".