West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday warned of widespread protests unless the Centre rolls back its demonetisation move in three days. “Don’t test people’s patience. Otherwise, there will be a bhagawat [revolt],” said Kejriwal while addressing wholesalers at Delhi’s Azadpur Mandi.
Banerjee accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of violating Constitutional rules. “The common man is suffering. If you do not fix all problems, we will not leave you. We are still alive,” she added. While Banerjee accused the government of trying to sell the country and compared it with the 1975 Emergency, Kejriwal said the demonetisation move was the “biggest scam since 1947”. The AAP leader said that despite being an Income Tax commissioner, he has been unable to understand how corruption and black money could have been checked by introducing new Rs 2,000 notes.
The two politicians later visited the Reserve Bank of India to see the the new notes being printed, reported NDTV.
However, the government seems to be unfazed by such demands and threats. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday evening told ANI, “There is no question of a rollback.” He also dismissed the demand of forming of a Joint Parliamentary Committee.
Both Banerjee and Kejriwal have been vocal in their criticism of the Centre’s decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress Party was the first to react, calling the step a “draconian decision”. On Wednesday, the West Bengal chief minister had led a march to submit a memorandum to President Pranab Mukherjee. Though Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party had given this rally a miss, Banerjee had been joined by Bharatiya Janata Party’s Maharashtra ally Shiv Sena. Kejriwal, on the other hand, had alleged that Modi had informed his “friends” before announcing the decision on November 8.
Earlier in the day, both houses of Parliament were adjourned after Opposition parties raised slogans and demanded that Modi be present for the debate. “The person who made the [demonetisation] announcement at 8 pm on November 8, where is he?” asked TMC leader Derek O’Brien in Rajya Sabha. The situation was no different in the Lok Sabha, which was adjourned for the day after Opposition parties demanded a debate on demonetisation under a rule that entails voting.