RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Wednesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of pushing the country towards ‘economic slavery’ and asked him as to whether he was now ready to face punishment at a public square for the chaos post-demonetisation.
He claimed that that Modi had failed to keep his promise of streamlining the banking system and easing up public woes in the 50 days’ time of the currency recall drive.
The RJD chief’s diatribe came at a Maha dharna (sit-in) organised as part of the party’s statewide agitation launched on Wednesday to step up heat against Modi government for demonetisation. The move was also aimed at adding to the voice of opposition parties including the Congress and TMC in steering the anti-demonetisation agitation.
Incidentally, two of its alliance partners -- Congress and JD (U) -- stayed away from dharna.
“The country has slipped into bad times. The economy is slowing down while the poor and agricultural workers are out of job due to cash crunch. The unemployment rate among migrants from Bihar has increased. There is all round chaos but PM Modi is busy defending the decision,” Prasad said. He added that the non-validation of high denomination notes was a sinister design by the Centre to help big business tycoons to tide over bad debts.
Prasad said that the PM should now choose a chouraha (public square) to face public punishment as he himself had declared to face extreme punishment if he failed in his bold move.
“I am not saying it. It is PM Modi who had declared himself. A PM should not talk loose as the post is an institution,” Prasad said, adding that the popularity of the BJP mascot among commoners including women had taken a hit as millions of households had lost their savings in the demonetisation drive.
“Ghar ghar modi, Har Modi Modi... ghar, ghar mein lath mara Modi (Modi in every household… Modi has wreaked havoc in those households),” the RJD chief said.
“The new currency notes are so small, it look more like paper to sell Churan,” he said, taking potshots at the way one of the four RBI’s currency printing machines had broken down. “Even the machines are not able to take the load,” he added.
Referring to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s charges against Modi accepting kickbacks from business houses, Prasad said the PM should issue a statement on the charges or else should file a defamation suit against the Gandhi scion.
Prasad, who recently extended support to TMC chief Mamata Banerjee against her countrywide dharna against demonetisation, said the opposition parties were all united against the ‘notebandi’ as it had proved to be gimmick more than a serious exercise to weed out black money.