December 14, 2016 5:11:47 pm
Worried about how he would manage to survive in this new “cashless” economy, Devrajan, a farmer from Thrissur, angrily said that demonetisation was the “cruelest move possible.” He came all the way to Delhi from Kerala to protest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation drive that made old high denomination notes invalid. Devrajan says he has already been leading a “cashless” life as his income had dipped and, hence, he could not even feed his family.
Devrajan was one of the hundred voices that shouted “Narendra Modi murdabad” in unison at a dharna held in Jantar Mantar on Wednesday afternoon. Amongst the enraged protesters were farmers from Kerala, and leaders from the United Democratic Front and the Congress. UDF MLAs were equivocal in spelling out the devastating effect that demonetisation has had on the state economy. In addition to the woes raised by farmers over the steep decline in production, leaders also feared that farmer cooperatives might accrue huge losses . “The economy is crippled as the production in industries and agriculture has all come to a halt,” a UDF MLA said. The UDF leaders did not conceal their disappointment and anger, with many of them calling demonetisation a “cruel” move that has completely jeopardised the economy of Kerala as cash flow across the state has come to a grinding halt.
Congress vice- president Rahul Gandhi, who joined the protest with party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, echoed former prime minister Manmohan Singh’s speech in the Rajya Sabha by labelling the move as a “monumental disaster”. He claimed that the prime minister was not allowing anyone to speak in the Lok Sabha because he fears listening to the negative feedback from the Opposition. Rahul ended his short speech by angrily terming the invalidation of old tender as a national “tragedy”.
Surjewala was also deeply critical of PM Modi, calling his recent move a “fair and lovely scheme. He said that under Section 271 of the Income Tax Act, a person caught with black money is liable to pay 132 per cent tax. “But Modiji’s fair and lovely scheme allows people to convert their black money into white by paying only 45 per cent tax,” he said.
He alleged that PM Modi has now made it easier for people to convert their black money into white, saying that his move was shielding black money marketeers and hoarders more than exposing them. “BJP bought land worth hundreds and thousands of crores in the months leading to demonetisation,” Surjewala said, highlighting that the Congress Party had made public eight registered sale deeds of the land allegedly purchased by BJP president Amit Shah in Bihar.
The Rajya Sabha MP asserted that this “surgical strike” wasn’t against black money, but against the people of India and the economy. He said that the time has come to launch a movement in order to expose the “biggest scam in the history of independent India”. “The economy is now ‘truly cashless’ as neither the banks, ATMs, or people have money,” he added.
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