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Don’t be defensive over demonetisation, PM tells allies as oppn mounts pressure

black money crackdown Updated: Nov 15, 2016 01:43 IST
HT Correspondent
All party meet

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan chairs the meeting with all party leaders at Parliament House on November 14, 2016. (Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times)

Anticipating a rough ride in the winter session of Parliament over the demonetisation move, the BJP turned the tables on the Opposition on Monday by questioning their intent in opposing the move.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi told NDA allies that there was no need to be defensive on the government’s decision as there is widespread support for it and people are ready to face hardships for larger gains.

He urged NDA allies to go to the public and explain the long-term benefits of demonetisation in curbing corruption and black money.

Union minister Venkaiah Naidu said the opposition parties who have criticised the Centre’s move would be given a befitting reply in Parliament.

“People are not worried about the problems they are facing, but they are looking at the larger interests of the country,” he said.

Later in the day, at the all-party meeting chaired by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, almost all opposition parties said demonetisation had not been properly implemented and had led to chaos.

Read | Oppn meets to chalk out plan to corner Modi over demonetisation in Parliament

Congress’s Lok Sabha leader Mallikarjun Kharge said, “At the meeting, leaders raised issues like the surgical strike inside Pakistan and that the suicide of a jawan over OROP. Some members demanded a debate on alleged gagging of freedom of speech and the merger of the railway budget.”

Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandopadhyay slammed the government for scrapping high-value banknotes without any back-up plan. “Mamata Banerjee will go to the President on November 16. PM should have held wider consultations with state governments.”

Though the Telengana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS) appreciated Modi’s plan, it also said implementation was poor.

Read | Oppn attacks Modi over demonetisation, Mamata seeks anti-BJP front

Earlier, the leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, labelled the demonetisation move a “scripted scam”.

“It came suddenly and information was leaked to the ruling party,” he alleged.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury demanded that old banknotes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 remain legal tender till December 31 to give relief to people.

He further alleged that Modi is aware of who had stashed black money abroad, but is not making them public.

Read | Battle lines drawn over demonetisation, govt braces for stormy winter session