Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi met people queuing outside ATMs in several areas of Delhi on Monday morning, in an apparent show of solidarity with the common people struggling with a cash crunch.
He visited people gathered outside an ATM in north Delhi’s Jahangirpuri around 6 am and proceeded to Inderlok and Zakira.
Gandhi talked to people about the problems they were facing due to the government’s demonetization move. Many people complained that they had been standing in queues for hours.
His interaction comes ahead of what is expected to be a stormy session in Parliament today.
Gandhi has been critical of government after PM Narendra Modi announced that Rs 500 and 1,000 notes will be recalled about two weeks ago. This is the second time that Gandhi has been seen interacting with people in Delhi. Earlier, he queued up outside a State Bank of India ATM on Parliament Street, where he went to exchange old currency.
Millions of panicked consumers have been lining up outside banks and ATMs across India to exchange scrapped banknotes. People have been struggling to deposit or exchange Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes – which the government abruptly put out of circulation in a bid to stamp out black money.
Both the Houses of Parliament have been witnessing a stormy debate over demonetisation in the first three days of the winter session.
In Lok Sabha, the Congress and some other opposition parties demanded a discussion on demonetisation under Rule 56 -- which entails voting -- through an adjournment motion that implies suspension of all other business.
The opposition parties insisted on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s presence while opposing demonetisation.
In the Rajya Sabha, treasury benches also resorted to slogans after Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi referred to the leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad’s statement that more people had died because of demonetisation than had been killed in the Uri terror attack on September 18 this year.
The CPI (M), in a statement, said, “Instead of immediate measures to bring relief to the people, the government has now reduced the limit of exchanging notes per person from Rs 4,500 to Rs 2,000. This will hit hard the poorer sections.”
The opposition has been clamouring for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s presence in Parliament, saying that he has a moral obligation to answer the common man whose life has been thrown in turmoil because of demonetisation.
Lashing out at the Prime Minister for failing to appear in Parliament, the Congress had earlier said the former was “absconding” from the House, but seemed to have enough time on his hands to address the Global Citizen Festival via video conferencing, where the internationally-acclaimed band Coldplay performed.
“Fifty five people have died. Crores stand in line for the past 11 days. Banks do not have cash, ATMs do not have notes. People have money in their accounts, but there is no money to be withdrawn from their accounts,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.
“Parliament is on and the Rajya Sabha is demanding that the Prime Minister should come and answer on demonetization, but Modiji has time to address via video conferencing a Cold Play concert in Mumbai,” Surjewala added.
(with agency inputs)