Rahul, Mamata demand PM’s resignation at opposition meet against noteban
New Delhi: Unfazed by the absence of leaders of the Left, JD(U), SP and BSP, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee along with some regional parties today sought to put up a united face raising the pitch against demonetisation by demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
After the eight-party meeting, the leaders also sought a probe into the issue of "personal corruption" of Modi with Gandhi insisting that a "free and fair" inquiry was needed to maintain the credibility of the Prime Minister’s post.
Banerjee, whose presence rescued the Congress’ plan of replicating the opposition unity witnessed in Parliament recently on the note ban issue, virtually stole the show by placing the resignation demand, a position subsequently echoed by Gandhi.
Both Gandhi and Banerjee spoke of a "common minimum agenda" being evolved to take the opposition unity forward even as he downplayed the absence of several other parties, including the Left, from today’s meet which preceded the press conference.
Escalating the attack on Modi, Gandhi described the noteban as a "single arbitrary financial experiment in the history of the world that affected 1.3 billion people" and asked him to explain the "real" reason for implementing it and take responsibility for giving pain to people.
He also raised the demand that Modi answer the charges of "personal corruption" made against him in the wake of his name allegedly figuring in the "Sahara and Birla diaries"
"Will you take responsibility over demonetisation and resign. Will you resign from Prime Ministership," Banerjee asked, as she termed demonetisation as a "mega scam" in the name of "achhe din" (good days).
The West Bengal Chief Minister said that 47 days are over and only three days are left in the 50-day period sought by Modi for return of normalcy post the note ban.
"He is not a magician to perform magic. No miracle will happen. You promised to bring ’achhe din’. Are these ’achhe din’? In the name of cashless, Modi government has become faceless and baseless.
"Demonetisation is not a small issue. If government becomes weak, the country is weakened," she said.
Asked what if the PM did not resign, Gandhi said, "If he does not resign, we will put pressure on him to resign."
The Congress leader said, "It was on the Prime Minister’s personal initiative that this arbitrary financial experiment was carried out for the first time in the world history that affected 1.3 billion people. Such an experiment was never done even during Mao’s reign in China."
Gandhi also claimed that demonetisation has made no impact on black money and dubbed it as "an attack on financial independence" and poor people of the country.
"PM should come out with the real aim of demonetisation and answer who is responsible for the suffering of the poor and what is he doing for those who have been hit. The aim of demonetisation has failed.
"The Prime Minister says he is fighting corruption but he is not answering the questions raised about him. The Prime Minister should be the first person to say that since there are charges against him there should be a free and fair probe," the Congress leader said.
Asked about former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s name figuring in the same documents, Gandhi replied, "Sheilaji herself is saying that she has no problem with an inquiry.
"Why Narendra Modiji is not saying that. While there are many names in ’Sahara diaries’, his name appears clearly in the e-mail of Vice President of Aditya Birla group."
The parties whose representatives were present at today’s meeting were RJD, DMK, JD-S, JMM, IUML and AIUDF, besides the Congress and Trinamool Congress.
In the just-concluded Parliament session, Gandhi brought together a total of 16 opposition parties on the note ban issue, some of which distanced themselves after his meeting with the Prime Minister on December 16 on farmers’ issues.
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