December 14, 2016 1:42:48 am
AS THE Winter Session of Parliament comes to an end, the Congress is chalking out a plan to take the demonetisation issue to the people in an attempt to keep it alive at least until the Assembly elections next year. The party also hopes to wrest back the political space and leadership role it was forced to share with regional parties in the initial days of cash crunch.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has called a meeting of AICC general secretaries and the party’s Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs on Wednesday to give the final touch to the mass campaign. Rahul has been meeting top leaders, MPs and office-bearers over the last few days, and the sense is that the party should utilise its pan-India footprint to launch a nationwide campaign and emerge as the most prominent anti-government voice on demonetisation, sources said.
Congress leaders acknowledge that the aggressive statements and high-decibel campaign by Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal have led to a perception that regional satraps are seeking a national space.
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The Congress leadership believes neither the debate over demonetisation nor problems triggered by it will end soon. To sustain the momentum gained by the deadlock in Parliament, therefore, the state units have been directed to organise street protests, while top leaders would address press conferences in select cities to put across their point of view, sources said.
Keeping up with his interactions with people bearing the brunt of cash crunch, Rahul, meanwhile, followed up his late-night visit to Sarojini Nagar market in south Delhi to meet street vendors Monday with a dash to Dadri wholesale grain market, on the outskirts of Delhi, on Tuesday.
During his 30-minute interaction with farmers and traders, Rahul alleged that the demonetisation scheme was to favour a few industrialists who had defaulted on bank loans. “Narendra Modiji cannot get Rs 8 lakh crore from those industrialists…those industrialists have marketed Modiji and have made him sit on that chair. In order to run banks, Modiji has now taken money from your pockets,” Rahul said. “You have been made to stand in queues, and he has filled the banks with your cash. His goal is that your money should remain in the bank for the longest possible time.”
He said, “Modiji wants that the money of Hindustan’s poor should be stuck in banks for six to eight months. And if that money is stuck for six or eight months, then banks will start functioning, and through your money, that Rs 8 lakh crore will go.” This, Rahul claimed, is the “aim of demonetisation”.— Inputs from Aditi Vatsa
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